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)HN §r. lOHN 



LIBRARY 

■[j'rignd^m Young Univers-ltLj 
From Mr....5:nd..Mrs^...J^...T...01soii 



Call 1(^^.3 Ace. 130240 
N° .fV\%^^ No 



"Our history, as a Church, has been like 
a drama. No scenes acted upon the theat- 
rical stage ever possessed more engrossing 
interest than have the scenes of our lives as 
Latter-day Saints." 

— George Q. Cannon. 






JOHN ST. JOHN 

A Story of Missouri and Illinois. 



'«;v^<:NK'«;::y 



By 
NEPHI ANDERSON, 

Author of "Added Upon," "The Castle Builder," "Piney Ridge 

Cottage," "Story of Chester Lawrence," "A Daughter 

of the North," "A Young Folks History 

of the Church," etc. 



130240 



'<0'-Qy'^:> 



1917: 



Copyright 1917 
By Nephi Anderson. 



All Rights Reserved. 



JOHN ST. JOHN. 



CHAPTER ONE. 

"John,— Mr. John St. John!" 

A little girl looked timidly into the room as she 
pushed the door half open. A stream of sunlight 
entered with her and lay as a patch of yellow on the 
rich brown carpet, burnishing, as it swept by, the 
golden tresses of the child. 

The young man sitting by the open window on 
the other side of the foom did not heed the call, so 
absorbed was he in his book. 

The little girl stood still, hesitating whether or 
not to disturb him. It was only for a moment, but the 
silence seemed a long time. Then she called again: 

"John,— Mr. John St. John!" 

The young man looked up. "Is that you, Jane? 
Come in," he said. 

"That's an awfully interesting book, isn't it?" she 
asked, as she slipped in and closed the door. 

"Why, yes — but I didn't see you; truly, I didn't." 

"You didn't hear me either." 

"I'm ashamed of my stupidity. Come here, Jane, 
and tell me I am forgiven." 

He drew her close to his chair. He stroked her 
hair and looked into her big blue eyes. She laughed 
merrily and shook her curls. 



"1 



6 JOHN ST. JOHN 

"How old are you, Jane?" he asked. 

"Guess." 

"Half as old as I." 

"But Fm more than half as big. Stand up and 
see." 

John arose, and he and the girl measured side by- 
side. She reached nearly to his shoulder. 

"See!" she cried, "and Fm ten years old to- 
morrow." 

'Well, I can beat you twice, and then some." 
'I'm to have a party, and I came to invite you 
to it." 

"Thank you; Fll come. What shall I bring?" 

"Yourself, of course." 

"Nobody else?" 

"Why, Dora will be there already, and — oh, yes, 
bring your mother. I just love her." 

"To take care of her big boy — that's a good idea. 
All right, won't you sit down now." 

"I think Fd better go. Fm so busy getting things 
ready; and Dora won't help me today; she's interested 
in a book, too." 

Jane peeped into the pages of the volume which 
John had been reading, but which now lay open on the 
table. 

"I think it isn't interesting," she remarked. 

"What makes you think so?" 

"There isn't any talk in it. I like the thin places 
in a book." 

John smiled. "You like a story, don't you?" 

"Yes, with a lot of fighting in it." 

"Jane, Jane, I am surprised!" 



JOHN ST. JOHN 7 

"You needn't be. Is there fighting in this book?" 

"Yes, a lot of it. It's about the Indians. It tells 
how the Indians came to be Indians." 

At this interesting disclosure, Jane looked more 
closely at the pages. "Book of Mormon/* she read. 
"I never heard of this book before." 

"It's a new one. A preacher left it here last week." 
John closed the book with a mark between the leaves, 
then he arose. "Jane, Vm going home with you, to 
help you get ready for the party." 

"Oh, will you? but Dora won't look at you," she 
warned. "Her nose is in a new book also." 

The young man laughed softly at this as he slipped 
on his coat and put on his hat. He took Jane by the 
hand, and they went out. They paused on the porch, 
impressed with the bright June day and the beauty 
of the scene. 

Back of them, a mile or so, lay the city. At the 
left and in front were the distant hills, then the nearer 
forest and the broad stretch of fields and meadow 
through which flowed a small creek. These were all 
bathed in a soft, pearly haze, through which the sun's 
rays filtered to a pleasant warmth. At the right, less 
than a quarter of a mile away, the Fenton house could 
be seen among the trees. A private path led down to 
the orchard, through the field, and across a rustic 
bridge which spanned the creek, then up to Jane's 
home. Along this path, John and his little friend 
walked leisurely this afternoon. The wheat fields 
were waving, the meadows shone in growing green. 
Crickets chirped their welcome, and a catbird called 
from a nearby tree. 



8 JOHN ST. JOHN 

"There's Dora on the porch reading," announced 
Jane, as they neared the house. "She doesn't see us. 
Let's scare her." 

The two stepped softly on the grass. When within 
a few feet of the porch, Jane gave a lusty shout, at 
which the reader raised her head. 

"We're Indians," cried the little girl in glee, 
"and we've come to take you." 

Yes, she was worth the taking, thought John St. 
John as Dora Fenton arose to welcome him. Nearly 
twice the age of her sister Jane, she was tall with big 
blue eyes and light wavy hair. The two sisters were 
very much alike. Jane was a bud, Dora, the full- 
blown flower. John seated himself near Dora, while 
Jane perched herself on the porch railing. 

"Jane tells me you have a very interesting book," 
began John. 

Dora handed the volume to him. 

*' Pride and Prejudice," he read. "A new book 
by a new author. Is it interesting?" 

"It's rather unnatural. It seems strange to us 
that there are people in England who do nothing all 
day but dine, call on each other, play cards, and gossip, 
as this book describes." 

"But John has a much more interesting book," 
interrupted Jane. "It's about Indians." 

"I fear, Jane, that you have a wrong conception 
of my book," replied John. 

"What is it?" inquired Dora. "Some deeply 
philosophic volume, I suppose." 

"It's a very strange book," explained John. 
"It claims to be a record of an ancient people who 






JOHN ST. JOHN 9 

lived in this land long before Columbus discovered it. 
The Indians are a remnant of this people. It's a sort of 
American Bible." 

"A Bible — how can there be more than one Bible?" 

"Well, of course, it's a rather strange idea to us 
that there should be more than one Bible; but, really, 
when one thinks about it, if a civilized people once 
lived on this continent, and they were a branch of the 
Hebrew race, why shouldn't their records and history 
be Scripture?" 

The older girl looked at the speaker for a moment, 
then her gaze went out past him to the distant hills. 
John did not continue the theme. He did not wish to 
discuss religion with Miss Fenton, as his past exper- 
iences in that line had taught him that it might end 
unpleasantly; and John did not like unpleasant things. 
Jane soon left to be about her important preparations. 

"It's a most beautiful day," said John; "let's take 
a walk." 

They strolled down the path leading to the brook 
and the bridge. The young lady's curiosity regarding 
the new book was not quite satisfied. 

"Where did you get this book about the Indians?" 
she asked. 

"A young traveling preacher left it at the house 
last week. He explained that the book had been trans- 
lated from some golden plates by a young man, Joseph 
Smith by name, whom he called a prophet." 

"A prophet!" 

"Yes; this prophet had received visitations of 
angels and many wonderful manifestations, he claimed." 

"Angels — a modern prophet?" 



10 JOHN ST. JOHN 

"Fll lend you the book." 

"Thank you; but I think I shall not care to read 
it." 

They stopped on the bridge as they always had 
done for many years. As boy and as girl these two had 
waded in the stream and had fished for minnows in its 
pools. The bridge had been their place of meeting, for 
small boys and girls are equals, and meet each other 
half-way. The weather-beaten hand rail over which 
they now leaned, as they looked down into the water, 
was decorated with jack-knife carvings. In the center 
of an elaborate, if not artistic, design were the letters 
J S J - D F, carved by John St. John in his younger 
days. Frequently, as they had lingered on the bridge, 
he had cut the letters deeper in the wood. Even that 
afternoon, he mechanically took his knife from his 
pocket and began to carve. 

Dora looked at him. "Don't you think these 
letters are deep enough?" she asked, with a smile. 

"Perhaps; but somehow, I want to be sure — want 
to be certain that these two names will remain side by 
side always, in spite of wind or weather." 

Dora again dropped her eyes to the pool, and a soft 
glow mounted to her cheeks. John had never before 
made love to this girl in bold, open word or action; 
but always there had been a tacit understanding that 
they were lovers. As children in play, they always 
paired. Later, when separated by school and business, 
they had kept in touch by letters. Now, when they 
were both at home, they were much together, talking 
and reading; or riding through country and town. It 
was a foregone conclusion by all who made it their 



JOHN ST. JOHN 11 

concern that these two, so eminently fitted for each 
other, would some day marry. John and Dora them- 
selves could not remember the time when they were 
not conscious of this taken-for-granted idea. To them, 
so far, the course of true love had run very smoothly. 
And they lived their days in sweet affection which 
bathed their lives as the autumn sunlight bathed the 
earth that peaceful afternoon. 

The sun sank behind the big trees on the hill. The 
birds twittered sleepily. The distant low of cattle came 
from the meadows, mingling with the call of the herd- 
boy. 

And as the dusk of evening fell, John and Dora 
were still talking on the bridge. Their tones were low. 
They gazed, for the most part, into the darkening 
waters below, as they leaned on the railing. They stood 
quite close together. More from the power of instinct 
than of purpose their hands had come together with a 
firmly tender clasp. 

Jane Fenton came out on the porch for the third 
time, looking for the missing couple. She caught sight 
of them down on the old bridge, and looked at them 
for some time from under her hand. 

"Huh! I thought he was going to help me crack 
nuts!" she said. 



12 JOHN ST. JOHN 



CHAPTER TWO. 

John St. John was the only son of an only son. 
Thomas St. John, his father, could trace his lineage to 
the English nobility. Whether the title was now "dor- 
mant, obeyant, or forfeited" Thomas St John would 
not say, and John did not care enough to find out. 
There was still a Mosstone Manor in England, and 
there had been a coat of arms with a ''lion rampant" 
as the chief figure on the field. Thomas' father had 
been called Sir George for a time after his landing in 
New England. He had, however, soon become Ameri- 
canized, and had done some fighting in the Revolution- 
ary War. 

Thomas, as a young man, had moved West, and then 
as a middle-aged man had moved farther West. He 
was one of the founders of Belford, had grown in 
wealth with the city's growth, and was now the prin- 
cipal banker of the town. 

Fifteen years ago, he had built his home — one 
befitting his rank and income — well out in the country. 
He called it Moston. The town, since then, had ex- 
tended after him, but it had not, as yet, reached him. 
Moston still remained the quiet home with its dignified 
air of seclusion and rest. The trees had grown big. The 
house and grounds had taken upon themselves a be- 
coming age. 

Here at Moston John St. John had lived most of 
his life. As yet, he had not chosen any life's work, and, 
truth to tell, his father was getting a little impatient at 



JOHN ST. JOHN 13 

his son's lack of decision. As an only child, the young 
man's later years had been spent amid the luxury which 
money can provide. Much of his time from home had 
been spent at school. He had made various trips to 
New York and to Boston. He had visited Europe, 
whose charm had made him restless to go again. Now 
he helped in the bank a few hours each day, but he 
showed no signs of wanting to master the business so 
that in time he could relieve his father. John had been 
given full freedom of choice in the matter of choosing a 
vocation. His father found no fault with him because 
he did not take to banking, but he thought his son 
should soon choose something — let it be lawyer, doctor, 
or anything creditable. 

For a year past, John had been reading much. He 
read again his Pilgrim's Progress and his Paradise Lost 
He read for the first time Fox's Book of Martyrs, and 
became deeply interested in Martin Luther. 

"Well," said the father, "if he is cut out for one, 
let him become a preacher." 

But John read rather more for the joy of reading 
than for any more definite purpose. 

When the missionary, only last week, had left the 
Book of Mormon, John's curiosity was aroused. Here 
was a new book on a new subject. Before he had half 
completed its reading, he discovered that here was 
something not only new, but different from anything 
else he had ever seen. 

Rebecca St. John, very likely, had spoiled her son 
in the way that only sons are frequently spoiled; but 
she was also her son's salvation. She had early trained 
him to have no confidant before her, and so he had 



14 JOHN ST. JOHN 

always brought to her all his trials and troubles, little 
and big. Many a time his mother had saved him from 
physical and moral dangers because of this close 
companionship. 

The day after John had told Dora of his "find," 
in which that young lady had shown such little interest, 
he took the Book of Mormon to his mother. She was 
sitting by the big window with her sewing. Here the 
light was good and the view was beautiful. The young 
man stood for a moment looking out on the velvety 
lawns, the closely clipped hedges, the flowers and the 
walks. 

"Have I ever told you, mother, that this view 
always reminds me of the grounds of what was once the 
famous Mosstone Manor?" asked John. 

"Yes; you have said that before. England must be 
very beautiful." 

"It is. If I were not an American, I believe I would 
live in Europe. There is much elegant ease there, which 
appeals to me." 

The mother looked up into his face. 

"I don't know from whom I inherited that dis- 
position," said he, as if he ought to apologize for it, 
"Certainly, not from you or father. Perhaps from some 
distant ancestor of Mosstone Manor. But, mother, 
here is something I wish to show you." He handed her 
the book. 

"What is it?" she asked. 

"You remember that young missionary who called 
here last week?" 

"Yes." 



JOHN ST. JOHN 15 

"Well, he left me this book, and I have been read- 
ing it. I want your opinion of it." 

The mother examined the volume carefully. She 
read the title page and turned over some of the leaves. 
It was a common looking book, and yet, what a train 
of mighty events would spring from the perusal of its 
pages! 

John seated himself and repeated to his mother 
what the missionary had told him. She neglected her 
sewing. Her beautiful gray eyes opened wide at the 
narration. Her face beamed. He read to her from the 
book. For an hour he continued until he was reminded 
that it was time for him to go to Jane Fenton's birth- 
day party. The mother had declined the invitation, 
and so when John had left, she picked up the book and 
continued reading. 

When Thomas St. John came home at early 
twilight, he found his wife sitting by the window 
turning the pages of her book to the fading light. 

"Mother," he greeted, "you'll be straining your 
eyes. Shall I light the lamp?" 

"Oh, is it you?" She closed her book, her fingers 
still between the leaves. 

"What have you there so interesting?" he asked. 

"A wonderful book, Thomas." 

"One of John's, I suppose." 

"No; a missionary left it. Sit down here, Thomas, 
and let me tell you about it." 

The husband pushed the window blind further 
up, then seated himself in the chair which his son had 
occupied earlier in the afternoon. He was a good look- 



16 JOHN ST. JOHN 

ing man, smooth-shaven, with closely cropped iron 
gray hair. 

The mother told the simple, surprising story which 
the son had told her, adding what she had found first- 
hand in the book. She spoke as a child speaks of a 
wonderfully beautiful story which she believes to be 
true, and which, as a matter of course, the listener 
would also be pleased to hear. Thomas St. John bore 
with the narration patiently. He tried always not to 
offend the deeply religious nature of his wife, but this 
"fairy tale" taxed his patience. He kept his temper 
and his counsel, however, and when she had finished, 
he simply changed the subject of conversation. 

John came home early. Usually, of late, there had 
been walkings with Dora back and forth across the 
bridge, under the stars or the moon; but this evening 
John felt as if he wanted to come home, and to his 
mother. A strange soul-hunger was upon him. The 
father was away for the evening, so there was no reason 
why mother and son should not contentedly sit together 
under the evening lamp and read the Book of Mormon. 

Nothing more was said for the next few days to 
either Dora Fenton or Thomas St. John about Joseph 
Smith or the Nephite Record; but mother and son 
communed in word and spirit closer than they had ever 
done before. On the evening of the fifth day the read- 
ing of the book was finished. 

"Well, mother, what do you think of it?" asked 
John. 

The mother did not reply for a moment, but she 
opened the book again and turned to a page nearly at 
the end. 



JOHN ST. JOHN 17 

"Here is a wonderful promise/' she said. "I noted 
it when we read it the first time. Listen:" 

" 'Behold I would exhort you that when you shall 
read these things, if it is wisdom in God that ye should 
read them, that ye would remember how merciful the 
Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the 
creation of Adam, even down to the time that ye shall 
receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts. 

" *And when ye shall receive these things, I would 
exhort you that ye should ask God, the eternal Father, 
in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and 
if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, and with real intent, 
having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it 
unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.' " 

^'"^ The mother closed the book "John, my 

son, I have done that. Yesterday, I finished the reading 
alone — I could not wait for you — and then I found that 
promise. I have asked 'with sincere heart,' and Oh, my 
boy, the Lord has revealed unto me that this Book of 
Mormon is true." 

The mother laid her hands tenderly on her son's 
shoulders, and they stood looking into each other's 
faces, as she said : 

"What this knowledge will bring to me, to us all — 
I cannot say; what trials it may bring — " 

"Mother!" 

"But this I know that now my heart is full of joy, 
and that in the end, if I am faithful, it will bring sal- 
vation in God's kingdom My boy, you also, 

must get this testim.ony. You, at least, must be with 
me. I can not stand to be alone in this." 

"How shall I get this testimony?" 



18 JOHN ST. JOHN 

"In the same way I did." 

"But I don't know how. When I pray, I still 
repeat the simple prayer you taught me long ago. How 
can I do this, mother?" 

"Talk to your Father in Heaven as you would to 
your earthly parent. Ask him as you ask me, my son, 
but ask 'with a sincere heart.' " 

"Mother, I am not a religious man. You know, 
I never was much of a church goer." 

"But this is different. This I feel is real, God- 
given. This will appeal to you more and more. Your 
father and I may have spoiled you in many ways; 
but you are clean; and, somehow, John, I feel that 
in this which has come to us, you will prove yourself 
true and strong." 

They were standing by the favorite window. The 
red of the sky fell on hill and meadow and river; it 
streamed through the window and glowed on the 
thoughtful faces of mother and son standing close 
together. 

"Mother," said John, "I also believe, and Fll try 
to get the same fuller knowledge which you have 
received." 

She put her arms about him and kissed him 
tenderly. 



JOHN ST. JOHN 19 



CHAPTER THREE. 

John St. John and his mother were in the rear 
garden early that Sunday morning. The June apples 
were reddening fast, the peaches were putting on color. 
The upper part of the orchard was inclosed with a low 
brick wall, now quite overrun with ivy. The side 
bordering the path which led to the bridge and the 
Fenton home contained a ragged breach, which be- 
cause of a neglect to repair it, became a short cut be- 
tween the two neighbors. 

That morning, Jane Fenton climbed nimbly over 
the broken wall and ran up to Mrs. St. John. 

"I brought you a piece of my birthday cake/' 
she said. 

"Thank you, Jane, I am sure it is nice." 

"Don't give John any. He ate his share last 
evening." She looked at the young man as if daring 
him to deny that. 

"I surely did," laughed John. He picked the 
reddest apple he could find and tossed it to Jane. "Try 
it, it's nearly ripe. Little girls as well as big boys 
like the taste of a new apple, just a little before it gets 
ripe." 

Jane nibbled at the apple. "M-m, it's good," 
she declared. 

"And how's Dora this morning?" he asked. 

"She wasn't up when I left." 

"Well, Jane, when you go back tell her for me that 
I'll drive around for her this afternoon. I want her to 



20 JOHN ST. JOHN 

go to town with me and mother to attend that meeting 
I spoke to her about." 

Jane promised to do this, though she was tempted 
to tell of the cross things her sister had said about 
this very thing. However, she said nothing, and after 
lingering in the garden as long as she thought proper 
for a little girl, she went back home with her message, 
and another apple. 

"Do you think father will go with us?" asked 
John of his mother. 

"I think not. He has said very little about 
the excitement which the meetings are creating in 
town, and that, as you know, is not a good sign." 

Mother and son walked about in the garden, 
talking. They were much together of late. The mission- 
ary who left the Book of Mormon had visited them 
again and had talked further with them. He and his 
companions were holding a series of meetings in Bel- 
ford. John and his mother had promised to attend 
their meeting that afternoon. 

Shortly after one o'clock, John drove his span of 
grays up the gravelly path to the Fenton house. Mrs. 
St. John sat in the back seat alone, Mr. St. John having 
gone to town earlier. He would join them later, — 
perhaps. Mrs. Fenton had said she could not go, Jane 
had not been invited, so Dora appeared alone, all 
ready. John alighted and helped her up. She chose 
the back seat with the mother, at which John grum- 
bled goodnaturedly. 

Belford was going to church when the banker's 
carriage drove into town; but the Sunday-clad people 
were not going to the unpretentious hall where the 



JOHN ST. JOHN 21 

"Mormons" were to preach. There were comments and 
shaking of heads when they saw John drive up to the 
"common" hall, tie his team and help his mother and 
Miss Fenton to alight. 

The meeting room, though small, was only half 
filled. Mrs. St. John felt a little nervous; Dora was not 
at ease because of pride and prejudice; but John was 
at home. He shook hands with the missionaries, and 
introduced them to his mother and Dora. 

The services began with song and prayer. Then, 
one of the Elders, as the preachers called themselves, 
began to speak. John listened closely. The discourse 
must have been carefully planned. Point by point the 
theme was developed, every position clearly stated, 
then proved by scripture and logic. His language, his 
reasoning, was faultless. His sentences rung clear and 
strong. Surely, here was an orator of no small ability. 
But what was he doing in this humble church whose 
ministers preach without a salary? 

He was followed by the second Elder who was 
shorter in stature and older in years. His speech was 
somewhat halting and his expressions crude. He did 
not attempt to deliver a well-planned discourse. He 
told a straightforward story of the earthly visitations 
and ministrations of heavenly beings. He spoke of the 
restoration of the Gospel, of the organization of the 
Church, of the young Prophet who was even then, 
with his brethren seeking a place in the West, "near 
the borders of the Lamanites," where his persecuted 
followers might rest and build up the latter-day Zion. 
Fervently, sim^ly^^e bore his testimony to the truth 
of these thingsi As John listened, his heart burned as 



22 JOHN ST. JOHN 

with a sweet fire. The first speaker had appealed to 
the intellect, the second spoke to the heart, and moved 
it to joyous response. 

When the speaker closed, John turned to the 
shining face of his mother, and said simply, "He told 
the truth." 

-^^ Dora was silent on the way home. In fact, there 
was very little said by any of them. Dora declined 
John's invitation for her to continue on with them to 
Moston, so he Hfted her down at her own gate. 

Thomas St. John was already at home, awaiting 
wife and son. When John saw his father, he had fore- 
bodings of coming unpleasantness. Up to this time, 
the father had treated with silent contempt this new 
religious propaganda. Foolish, fickle people might take 
up with faddists and imposters, but his own family, 
surely, would not. Even when the Elders of the new 
faith had been to the house a number of times, he was 
merely annoyed. But now he was angry. 

"I feel outraged in my feelings," he said to them. 
"You have invited these men to our home, and now 
you attend their meetings. You will be the talk of the 
town. Who is this Joe Smith, anyway?" 

The others said nothing. They knew from ex- 
perience, that at such times, silence was the best. 

"A treasure digger, a gold-plate fakir, an ignorant 
fanatic!" exclaimed the father, in answer to his own 
questions. "If you want to get religion" — turning to 
John — "get some respectable kind that will not dis- 
grace us all ... . And remember, I will not have you 
dragging your mother about with you on this business!" 



JOHN ST. JOHN 23 

I went of my own choice, Thomas," quietly de- 
clared the mother. 

"And I supposed you urged Dora to go with you, 
though I happen to know that it was against her 
wishes," he continued, speaking directly to John, who 
answered: 

"She appeared willing enough to go, father,— 
and Fm sure she heard nor saw nothing to be ashamed 
of. I think there is a lot of good common sense in this 
'Mormonism,' and if you, father — " 

"Well, think as you please. You've had pretty 
much your own way all your life, and I suppose if you 
take a fancy to this crazy thing, my warning will not 
turn you from it." 

"Father, I know I have everything a young fellow 
could ask for, and I want you to know that I appreciate 
all you have done for me. I haven't amounted to much, 
so far, one way or another; but I must admit that what 
I have learned from these men, does take hold of me. 
It clears much that has been dark and answers many 
questions which have found vague lodgment in my 
mind." 

"Well," grunted the father in a somewhat calmer 
mood, "that, I suppose is something to be grateful for." 

By this time, the three had seated themselves 
about the dining room table, on which the father 
drummed with his fingers. 

"Yes, I think so, too," replied John, seeing that 
his father's anger had modified; "and I can promise 
you, father, that I shall not join the 'Mormons' until 
I am perfectly satisfied that it is the right thing to do. 
I am not in that condition yet. Surely, there can be no 



24 JOHN ST. JOHN 

harm in reading their books and Hstening to their 
arguments. I've done that, more or less, with nearly 
every religion in the neighborhood, and youVe never 
objected before." 

"That's different." 

"In what way?" 

"I — I don't know, only that it is — I'm not going 
to argue with you. Young man, you do as I tell you. 
Behave yourself and leave Joe Smith and his golden 
Bible alone." 

The father arose, walked to the open window. 
The mother slipped out. There was silence in the room 
for a time, then the father turned again to his son. 

"John," he said with quiet emotion, "you are my 
only child, and all I have is yours. You know that. 
You are to carry on our name and all that it has hon- 
orably stood for in the past. I am depending on you . . . 
Do not disappoint me." 

"Father, I hope I shall never disgrace our name, 
but—" 

"Then stop this 'investigating' as you call it, of 
the 'Mormons.' It is unsafe. The Rev. Mr. Thomson 
has told me all about it, and what trouble the sect is 
creating wherever they locate. Don't mix up with them. 
Dora doesn't like what you are doing. She's a mighty 
fine, sensible girl. Marry her, and settle down to a good 
Christian life here at Moston, or any where else you 
choose. I will give you what start you need in any line 
of activity." 

The young man was deeply moved by his father's 
earnest words. Was it not true, all this which his 
father was saying? The prospects held out were cer- 



JOHN ST. JOHN 25 

tainly very pleasant, very alluring, especially so when 
placed against the dark picture which the mission- 
aries had at times painted. John looked about as if he 
wanted his mother, wanted to get her hand and hold 
it. The young man dropped his head and looked down 
to the table. 

"Now then, my boy," pleaded the father, "go 
right over to Dora and tell her what I want you to." 
He looked out of the window. "I think she is out on 
her porch now, waiting for you." 

The father left the room. John sat in deep thought 
for a long time, but he did not go away from the house. 
It was late that evening before he found his mother 
alone. 




26 JOHN ST. JOHN 



CHAPTER FOUR. 



The strawberries were ripe in Mrs. Fenton's 
garden, and she was out in it superintending the pick- 
ing. Since her husband's death, some five years ago, 
she had become a capable business woman. The straw- 
berry crop was large, this season, and the market was 
good. Enwrapped in a big blue apron, and shaded by 
a straw hat, she worked with cups and cases all morning. 

Jane was at school. Dora was housekeeper. After 
the noon-day meal of berries with cream and bread 
and butter, the mother went back to the picking, while 
Dora washed the dishes and tidied up the house. 

In the middle of the afternoon, John St. John 
came. He found Dora on the porch with sewing in her 
hands. John perched himself on the railing, and 
fanned his hot face with his hat. Dora's dress of pale 
blue was protected by a white apron. She looked 
so fresh and sweet that John's eyes could not long 
rest on any other object. 

Strawberries were talked about for a time. Then 
John changed the subject with: ''Dora, father told me 
you went with mother and me last Sunday against 
your wishes. Is that so?" 

The color deepened in the girl's cheeks. **Why, 
no — " she began evadingly. ''I was glad enough to go 
with you, John; but I don't want to go again." 

John left the railing and seated himself more 
firmly in a chair near the girl. He looked at her in a 
way he had seldom done. 



JOHN ST. JOHN 27 

"I am sorry I was the cause of your annoyance," 
he said. "Fm sorry, also that you will not go again, 
for I think I shall.'' 

"Of course, you may do as you please about that." 

"Dora," continued John in the same even tone, 
"all our lives we have been together. I cannot believe 
that we have now come to a parting of the ways. I 
have never thought of anything other than that we 
two should be together always." His hand closed 
firmly on hers as it lay among the sewing. She did not 
object, but as he spoke, she sat very still, the color in 
her cheeks alternately glowing and receding. 

"I hope, Dora, that because something really 
serious has come into my life you will not think the 
less of me." 

"You should let forbidden things alone," she 
suggested. 

"Forbidden things? What are forbidden things 
to you? Surely, religion is not one of them." 

"Some kinds are Oh, John, please don't be 

fooHsh." 

"I am trying hard not to be; but, Dora, something 
has come to me not altogether of my choosing. God 
knows that — and now that it has come, I must meet it 

manfully I have trodden the velvety path all 

my life, and I may have become weak, but I hope I am 
not altogether devoid of manly strength. I want to 
meet this situation fairly. I hope I shall never be afraid 
of the truth, let it come in whatsoever guise it may, 
even if it should lift me out of the deep rut of ease." 

John looked his best as he thus talked, and Dora 
did not fail to see it. Her heart went out to him, though 



28 JOHN ST. JOHN 

she was concerned at his attendance at the "Mormon" 
meetings. She did not want to be hfted out of her "rut 
of ease." She did not court a stern, hard duty which 
would surely bring her into the contempt of her friends. 
She said to herself that her soul was not in immediate 
danger, neither was John's. Why, therefore, all this 
heroizing? 

The afternoon sun becoming uncomfortably warm, 
Dora invited John in. They took their accustomed 
places in the long cushioned window seat. Dora tried 
to lead the conversation away from disturbing themes, 
but John would not follow. At the first opening, he 
said: 

"Dora, Fve about given up that trip to Europe." 

"Is that so— why?" 

"I think I'll go West instead." 

"West? How far?" 

"To Missouri." 

"Oh, John, not to the 'Mormons!' " 

"Yes; I want to see the people. Dora, I want to 
see Joseph Smith." 

Tears welled into the girl's eyes, whether of 
sorrow or of vexation John could not tell. After a 
pause, he went on : 

"I've been reading a lot of their literature; now 
I want to see the people themselves. I want to see and 
hear the Prophet. I think that's the only way I can 
get the light I need to help me determine what I shall 
do." 

"But, John, you'll not become a 'Mormon,' " she 
cried in real alarm as she clung to him. 

"That, dear girl, I cannot say. I am going to 



1.3i 

JOHN ST. JOHN 29 

prove this thing, if I can; and then, we'll leave the 
result with the Lord. I hope He will give me strength 
to do the right, at the same time that He gives me light 
to see it.'' 

"What does your father say?" 

"Father, I fear, does not understand; he is angry 
with me, I am sorry to say." 

"And your mother?" 

"Mother is different." 

"Yes, I've noticed that." 

There was little more to say just then for either 
of them. Jane came rushing in from school, rejoicing 
in the fact that vacation was near at hand. John was 
treated to a heaping dish of berries before he left to 
attend to a matter of business in town. 

June roses bloomed profusely in the gardens at 
Moston and at Fenton's. The busy strawberry time 
passed, and other fruits came into season. Mrs. Fenton 
was still busy, and for that matter, so was Dora and 
Jane. John visited as usual, though sometimes now 
he missed a day or even two, making up afterwards by 
long daytime visits. Mrs. Fenton noticed the changed 
manner of the young couple. Their long intimate 
talks which sometimes ended in tear-stained faces did 
not disturb the mother. These things were frequently 
favorable indications of a near approach to a happy 
termination. 

June passed into warmer July, and changes 
seemed to come to the people as well as to the months. 
Thomas St. John was more firmly set than ever against 
the course his son was taking. The mother, naturally 
quiet and gentle, became even more subdued. Dora 



30 JOHN ST. JOHN 

did not laugh so much, nor did she read so many of the 
latest English novels. Jane, at the sight of the sober 
faces about her, was not in the mood to tease her sister 
and her ''big brother John." Mrs. Fenton even began 
to worry about the outcome of the match upon which 
she had set her heart, and began to lay the trouble to 
* 'John's adventures in religion." 

To John St. John, that summer was ever mem- 
orable. Being born again of the Spirit is no trivial 
matter. John's nature changed. From a somewhat 
careless manner of life, he took upon himself a strict- 
ness which reached even to his habits of thinking. He 
quit using tobacco in any form, and ceased indulging 
in the "social glass." He attended the church services 
at Belford, first one and then another of the denomi- 
nations, not only to test out his own growing convic- 
tions of where the truth lay, but also somewhat to ap- 
pease his father. 

The "Mormon" elders did not come any more to 
Moston, but John met them in Belford, attended their 
public meetings when these were held, and sat for many 
hours with them in their lodgings. From them he 
learned the latest news "from the front." The "Mor- 
mons" had been driven from Independence, and were 
now located in Caldwell and adjacent counties, where 
they were making the wild prairie lands into farms. The 
town of Far West was growing, and prospects for com- 
fortable homes in that and nearby communities were 
promising. 

The tie between John and his mother grew even 
closer, if that were possible, during those summer days, 
when, try as he would to prevent it, the rift between 



JOHN ST. JOHN 31 

himself and his father, grew wider. Mother and son 
could talk plainly and without restraint on the truths 
which had come to them; and when they thus com- 
muned with each other, the sorrow in their hearts 
because of others was alleviated by the sweet peace 
which the Gospel brings. The mother admonished 
John to be, more than ever, kind and considerate in 
dealing with his father; ''for," said she, "if the restored 
gospel is what I think it is, it will make all whom it 
touches more gentle and more forbearing." And 
John heeded his mother's advice, and tried, with 
varying success, to curb his temper and his tongue. 

As July closed, John became restless to be off to 
the West. The father told him at last to "go and get 
your fill." The mother, though yet somewhat fearful, 
thought it best for him to go. Dora was mute, 
Mrs. Fenton was angry, and Jane was tearful. Never- 
theless, John made ready for the trip. 

The evening before his departure, John was at the 
Fenton's. He tried his best to be cheerful, and he 
succeeded fairly well. Mrs. Fenton reminded him that 
all seriously-minded young people pass through a 
period of religion-getting, even as children have the 
measles. Usually, it passes off, leaving them none the 
worse. But this case of John's was getting abnormal. 
John merely laughed, and then suggested to Dora that 
the garden was enticing by the Hght of the rising moon. 

As they walked down the gravelly path that 
evening, neither could tell whether or not this parting 
might not be forever. It was quite possible that here 
and now their ways would part, and this possibility 
weighed heavily upon them both. 



32 JOHN ST. JOHN 

At last, when they had been sitting in silence for 
some time on the rustic seat, Dora found her tongue, 
and pleaded with him not to go. "You are your parents' 
only child. Your father needs you — his hopes have been 
with you — you will break his heart." 

"No; ril not do that," he rephed. "Vm doing 

nothing of a heart-breaking nature It's only 

a visit, Dora. Very likely, Fll be back before winter." 

"Fm so fearful." 

"There is nothing to fear." He drew her close to 
him. "But there is much for which to be glad." 

"It's a long way to Missouri, and the traveling, 
I understand, is often rough and dangerous." 

"It's nothing serious, I am sure. I'll write you 
often and tell you all about it." 

"What is it, John, that draws you away from me? 
I can't understand." 

"It seems that only those who get the call can 
understand." 

"Have you received a call?" 

"In a way, yes." 

"In what way — tell me." 

"He who is not willing to leave father and mother, 
houses and lands — " 

"It hasn't come to that yet?" 

"No, my dear, not yet." 

"But it may?" 

"Yes, it may." 

"And then, John, Oh, then?" 

"Why then, Dora, we must all be brave and strong. 
We are all in the hands of the Lord." 



JOHN ST. JOHN 33 

"John, you are leaving me! I do love you, 

John. You know that." 

"Yes, Dora, I know — and I love you, too. All 
our lives we have loved each other, but it is only within 
the last few weeks that we have told it in words. It's 
all so strange, so sweetly strange, my darling." 

They clung to each other silently, these two, as 
if they had forebodings of what lay before them. The 
faint night-noises sounded loudly on the still air 

"Dora, do you know that I am doing this as much 
for your sake as for mine?" 

"No, John, I do not," she whispered. 

"I am. I can't quite explain it even to myself, 
but I feel that way. Some day Fll know, and you'll 
know," he said prophetically. 

Then they walked slowly back to the house. 
Apparently Jane and her mother had gone to bed. John 
and Dora lingered on the porch. He kissed her tenderly 
before he would let her go, then she ran into the house. 

John walked slowly down the path. Then the 
door opened again, and Jane's voice called: "John, 
Mr. John St. John, you didn't say good night and good- 
by to me." 

John turned. Jane was standing on the steps in 
her white night-gown. He came back to her, and she 
clasped him about the neck. 

"Goodby," she said with a catch in her voice. 

"Goodby, Jane, and God bless you." 

He kissed her, and she went slowly back. 



34 JOHN ST. JOHN 



CHAPTER FIVE. 

Far West, Missouri, 

September 15, 1838. 

My Dear Father and Mother: — I am in the midst of 
wonderfully strange scenes, scenes quite different from 
the peaceful quiet of Belford and Moston. I am not 
at all clear just what will be the outcome of all this un- 
rest, but I mean to remain here for a time, and, perhaps, 
find out. 

In my brief letter which I sent from St. Louis, I 
told you the most important happenings up to that 
time. We left St. Louis the next day, steamed up the 
Mississippi river to where the Missouri enters, then 
proceeded up that stream. We stopped for a few 
hours in Jefferson City, where I began to realize for 
the first time that I was in Missouri, for we heard a lot 
of talk about the "Mormons," and what a wicked, 
lawless people they were. A man whom I met in Jeffer- 
son City, and who came with us up the river, advised 
me to keep away from the upper part of the state, for, 
said he, "it will be only a short time until the 'Mormons' 
will be entirely driven from the state." 

The Missouri river is surely the muddiest, crooked- 
est, snaggiest, of streams! Progress was slow. Some- 
times we would travel thirty miles around a promontory 
where the land distance across the narrow neck would 
be but a few miles. 

One afternoon, a party of us left the boat and 
walked across just such an isthmus. The captain said 



JOHN ST. JOHN 35 

he would pick us up before dark, but the boat ran into 
a sand-bank and did not reach us until the gray of the 
next morning. And there we were! Luckily, we had 
no women with us. We built a big fire and made the 
best of a bad bargain. My, but didn't the corn bread 
and bacon taste good that morning! 

Life on board a river steamer is full of varied ex- 
experiences. The passengers are a strange mixture. 
Those on our boat ranged from a grave college profes- 
sor from St. Louis, out for a vacation, to the "toughs" 
who carried the cord wood on board and fed it to the 
furnace under the boiler. There was some high life 
on board, and I am sorry to say, a lot of whisky drink- 
ing and card playing. I found my Jefferson City 
friend who had such a poor opinion of the "Mormons" 
among those who spent most of their waking hours 
about the card table. 

Even on board, there was a lot of talk about the 
"Mormons." Nearly everybody freely expressed opin- 
ions, and for the most part, no one had a good word for 
them. The Prophet was spoken of as "Joe Smith," 
or "Old Joe Smith." 

It pained me to hear a man whom I hold in high 
regard talked of in such disrespectful terms. I said 
nothing, however, as I did not feel able, with my limited 
knowledge of local affairs, to enter into any dispute. 
One young man attracted my attention the second day 
out from St. Louis. He was a quiet, gentlemanly sort of 
fellow who frequently stood listening to the talk about 
him. One day I was sure there was a pained expression 
on his face as a half tipsy man was boasting of what he 
had seen and done in Jackson County. The young 



36 JOHN ST. JOHN 

man moved away to the railing, and stood looking 
wistfully at the woods which stretched away from the 
left bank of the river. I felt as if I wanted to speak to 
him, so I went up to him and said: 

"I am John St. John. I am on my way to Far 
West. Perhaps you are going in that direction." 

He looked at me searchingly for a moment, then 
as if satisfied, he held out his hand. 

*'I am," he said with a smile. "I am glad to meet 
you." 

"And I want to tell you," I continued, "that I am 
not yet what the Missourians call a 'Mormon,' although 
I am leaning strongly that way. I am going to Far 
West to learn more about them. You appear to be 
different from the other men on board." 

"Thank you," he said. "My name is Henry 
Freland. I hope I am different." He hung on to my 
hand longer than is usual at first greetings. "Come 
over here where we can talk more freely." 

We walked forward to the end of the boat and sat 
down on some coils of rope. Then we talked. He 
seemed overjoyed to find someone he could speak freely 
to, someone he could trust, as he expressed it. 

Henry Freland had a long story to tell, and I can 
only give you a small part of it in this letter. He said 
he was a member of the Church called "Mormon." 
He was just returning from a preaching mission to 
Kentucky and Indiana. He had stopped for a few 
months at St. Louis working to earn a little money, 
but on hearing that there was trouble brewing again 
for his people, he left his work to hasten homeward. 
Five years ago, he told me, he, with father, mother and 



JOHN ST. JOHN 37 

two sisters had been driven from their home near 
Independence, in Jackson County. They had pur- 
chased a farm there, and had it well under way for the 
raising of good crops. They had built a rude but quite 
comfortable log house, and were happy in the thought 
that they were helping to lay the "foundations of Zion." 

One cold, wintry night, while both he and his 
father were away, a mob drove his mother and sisters 
out from their shelter. Then they set fire to the 
house. Father and son found their loved ones wander- 
ing in the woods with many others who had suffered 
the same mistreatment. Henry, (I call him that al- 
ready, for we are like brothers) choked in the telling of 
his story. Tears trickled down his face, and I fear my 
eyes were wet also, of which I am not ashamed. 

The morning after, early, I found Henry gazing 
intently at the shore. He smiled when I came up to 
him. 

"What are you looking at?" I asked. 

"Do you see that elevation just to the right of 
those trees? Well, Tve stood on that many a time and 
looked at the glories of Zion. We are now skirting 
Jackson County, and about five miles in this direction 
lies Independence. As you see, the country is beauti- 
fully rolling, and there is no finer spot in all the world 
than the 'Center place of Zion.' Our farm is about 
in this direction, as far as I can make out. It is a lovely 
piece of land. I suppose some member of that mob had 
his eye on it and is occupying it by now.'' 

"Surely not! What about the law?" 

Henry laughed, and simply shrugged his shoulder. 

That you, father and mother, might more fully 



38 JOHN ST. JOHN 

understand, let me explain as Henry did to me, that the 
Lord indicated to Joseph the Prophet that Missouri 
is the land of promise and the place for the city of Zion; 
and Independence is the "center place." Even the 
spot for the Temple has been selected and dedicated. 
The ''Mormons" began gathering to Independence in 
1831, but were driven out by mobs in 1833, going 
north across the river into Clay county and then later 
into Caldwell and adjacent counties, where they are at 
present located. 

We left the boat at Lexington Landing. When I 
asked my friend how we were to get to Far West, about 
thirty miles away, he said : ''Walk." That did not appeal 
to me. I could, perhaps, have trudged the distance, 
but Henry had quite a bundle, in which was hidden a 
rifle — the best he could buy in St. Louis, he told me, 
with fire in his eye. There were no regular stages up 
into Caldwell which we could use, so I determined to 
buy a horse — which I did. Henry agreed that a horse 
would be a useful animal to have. 

We loaded what baggage we had on Nig, as we 
named our horse, and we took turns riding while the 
other walked. We got along very well this way. We 
passed through some beautiful country, now adorned 
in its autumn colors. The scarlet of the sumac and the 
gold of the hickory relieved the green of the forests. 
Wild grapes clung to magnificent oaks. The persim- 
mons needed a little more frost to turn their acid 
juices sweeter. 

We were really two happy fellows. Henry is 
about my age, a little older. He has such laughing 
eyes, which can, I reckon, do more at times than laugh. 



JOHN ST. JOHN 39 

His smile is like a girl's. (You will discern by this 
time that I am quite in love with him). 

He insisted on my doing most of the riding. He 
said he was used to walking, having "legged it" over 
a good part of the states of Kentucky and Indiana. 
So while I rode, he walked by me with his hand on Nig's 
mane, and told me more about his experiences in 
Jackson County. He changed the subject, at times, 
by explaining many of the principles of the gospel. 

Never mind, mother, just how we passed the night. 
We were quite comfortable, not far from Nig. 

On the second day, about ten miles from Far West, 
we were met by a party of armed horsemen. At the sight 
of them in the road ahead, Henry, who was walking, 
instinctively placed his hand on the bundle as if he 
would pull his rifle from it; but he did not do so. The 
party rode up to us with a clatter, and one whom I 
suppose was the leader, greeted us with: 

"Halloo, men, where to?" 

"Just up into the country, looking about," I 
• replied. 

"Mormon?" 

The question was directed to me, so I could truth- 
fully say I was not; but the fellow angered me by his 
insolence and I could not refrain from asking him: 
"What's that to you?" 
> "Young feller," he replied, "in this state there are 

two classes of people: 'Mormons' an' whites. It's 
lucky fer you that you belong to the whites." 
^ * "Well, gentlemen, I don't know much about the 
'Mormons;' but this is a free country, isn't it?" 

"You bet it is, an' we're using our rights as free 



40 JOHN ST. JOHN 

American citizens to rid the country of the pesky 
'Mormons/ We'd advise you to keep away from any 
of their towns." 

"Thank you, gentlemen," I said, in as free a manner 
as I could, giving my horse a kick to urge him forward. 

They did not hinder us from going on. They 
appeared to hold a council after we had passed, whether 
or not to let us go, but after a time, they rode away. 

Henry had been very quiet during the interview. 
Now he breathed a sigh of relief. He acknowledged 
that it would have been hard for him to have let them 
taken us prisoners without a fight. "Some of them, 
and very likely, some of us would have been hurt," he 
said. "I'm mighty thankful, for your sake, that they 
did not try." 

We arrived in this place (Far West) last week. 
Henry did not meet his folks as they had moved to a 
place called De Witt. We will remain here a few days, 
and then I think, I shall accompany my friend to his 
new home. 

This place is a brand new town, alive with growth. 
Most of the houses are log cabins, but there are stores, 
shops, and hotels. The streets are all laid out at right 
angles, with a public square in the center. I hope to 
tell you more about the country later. 

I am well and feeling fine. Give my love to the 
Fentons. Tell Dora I shall write her shortly. Address 
your next letter to Far West, Caldwell County, Mo. 
With love to you all, I am, sincerely your son, 

JOHN. 

P. S. Yesterday, after I had written this letter, I 
saw the Prophet for the first time. As this letter is 
already long, I shall tell you all about it in my next. J.S.J. 



JOHN ST. JOHN 41 



CHAPTER SIX. 

De Witt, Carroll Co., Mo. 
Oct. 10, 1838. 

Dear Folks at Home : — It is now nearly a month since 
I sent you a letter from Far West, in which I promised 
to write you regarding my meeting with the Prophet; 
but things have happened so swiftly since then that I 
have been hindered. Even now I may be interrupted 
at any moment. Sister Freland insists that I write 
this letter, and Louise is backing up the demand by 
flourishing Henry's new rifle. But more of the local 
news later. Let me tell you about the Prophet. 

I had been in Far West a few days before I saw 
Joseph Smith. He is a very busy man, going from one 
settlement to another, giving instruction to the people, 
and trying to adjust the difficulties which are constantly 
arising. I had stopped one sunny Saturday afternoon 
to watch some boys who were playing ball on the 
public square, when a man who came swinging down 
the street attracted my attention. Just then, the boy 
at the bat sent a high-fly away to right field where 
there was no fielder at the time. The man saw the ball 
coming, ran quickly under it, caught it neatly, and 
with an easy swing, threw it in. He laughed with the 
boys as if he enjoyed the sport as much as they, which 
he no doubt did, for it was the Prophet Joseph Smith. 
The boys would not now let him go. They urged him 
to come and take his turn at the bat, which he did, and 
he kept the fielders busy for a time. 



42 JOHN ST. JOHN 

As I think of it now, it seems s'trange that my first 
meeting with the Prophet should be in such a simple, 
everyday manner; and yet it agreed with the manner 
of the man. After he had batted the ball for a time, 
he left the boys and came on down the street where I 
was standing watching the game. I wanted to speak 
to him, but debated with myself whether or not it 
would be proper. However, he seemed to discern my 
thoughts, and when he reached me, he stopped, looked 
at me keenly for an instant, then with a pleasant 
smile held out his hand. 

Although I knew I stood in the presence of a proph- 
et of the Lord, all timidity left me. As he held my 
hand, he seemed to draw me to him with a magnetic 
power. I talked to him as freely as I would to an in- 
timate friend. I told him my name and why I had come 
to Missouri. I shall never forget the smile on his face, 
the few words he spoke, and the manner in which he 
placed his hand on my shoulder and blessed me. That 
r~was all, and he was gone. 

j I have tried not to have any false or foolish notions 

I of what a prophet should be. I never did think it 

\ necessary for a prophet to be a long-faced, sancti- 

\ monious personage with hands clasped as if in perpetual 

prayer, and eyes turned up to heaven, so I was not 

disappointed in Joseph Smith. He is a man. That tells 

it better than much description — a fine, vigorous, 

young man, thirty-three years old; over six feet high; 

expansive chest; soft light-brown hair, inclined to 

waviness; keen, clear, penetrating eyes of bluish color; 

clean shaven face, with his soul shining unhindered 

through a clear complexion. 



JOHN ST. JOHN 43 

The next day was Sunday, and I heard him preach. 
I have heard many preachers, but none Hke this one. 
He truly spoke as ''one having authority.'' His language 
was neither polished nor always grammatically correct, 
but his voice was wonderfully sweet, not with the melody 
of words, but with the power of the Spirit; and by that 
same Spirit, what he said was carried with convincing 
force to the hearts of his hearers. I, with others, 
listened enwrapped. Although our seats were made of 
rough lumber and our meeting place was crude and 
cold, yet these things were immaterial. He spoke of 
the gospel truths, not as if he had learned them from 
books, but as if they were a part of him, spring- 
ing up naturally from some inner source. 

I have heard him a number of times since that 
first day, and always have his words sunk deep into my 
heart with convincing power. 

But now I must tell you a little of my doings and 
the people about me, both the good and the bad. I am 
writing this at the home of the Freland's. I came here 
from Far West some two weeks ago with Henry. Be- 
fore leaving Far West, I purchased another horse and 
a wagon. The wagon is not in the best condition, but 
it carried us and a few boxes of provisions safely to this 
place. Brother and Sister Freland received me as if I 
were one of their own, and it is good to have such 
friends in this new and strange country. When I 
carried my boxes into the house, I explained to Sister 
Freland that a boarder should pay something for his 
keep. 

Henry has two sisters; Louise, aged about nine- 
teen; (I should judge) and Marinda, who is fifteen. 



44 JOHN ST. JOHN 

(I have her own word for Marinda's age.) 
They are two very good girls, taking with 
good courage this pioneer Hfe and its hardships. 
Marinda is a frail girl, not having been well 
since the Jackson County mobbing when she caught 
a severe cold. This family left a good home in York 
state to gather with the people of their own faith. It's 
hard enough to settle a new country without having to 
be driven about by mobs while doing it. 

"Isn't it, Louise?" I looked up from my writing 
and asked. 

"Isn't what?" 

I read to her the sentence I had written. Tears 
welled in her eyes, but she brushed them away and 
smiled. She had placed Henry's gun in the corner 
again and was busy with some sewing. I went on with 
this writing. 

I ought to explain that most of the people here 
are still living in wagons and tents, not having had time 
to build houses. Brother Freland has a two-room log 
house. Crude and rough it is, but its occupants bring 
into it a good deal of cheer and comfort. 

We are not free from molestation. On the twelfth 
of last month, a large party of men, made up of mob- 
ocrats from other sections threatened this place, 
notifying the people of De Witt that they must leave 
by the first of the month. However, the people here 
have a legal right to remain on their lands and in their 
homes, and they have appealed to Governor Boggs 
for protection. As yet, we have heard nothing from 
him. Meanwhile, there is much unrest and uncertainty. 
I— 



JOHN ST. JOHN 45 

Far West, Mo. 

Oct. 15, 1838. 

I observe that I broke off wiiting from DeWitt 
somewhat abruptly. I shall now try to explain, and to 
finish this letter. Just as I wrote the last line, 
Henry Freland entered the house hurriedly. 

"The mob is here," he announced, as he snatched 
up his rifle and a bag of ammunition. I left off writing 
and went with him to where the men of the town were 
gathering. There was much excitement, for parties 
of mobbers were coming from various directions for 
the evident purpose of laying siege to our little 
settlement. 

We were in no condition to fight them, even if 
that had been advisable. For a number of days we 
watched them gathering. On the second, they began 
firing at us. Although they had a cannon and plenty 
of small arms, the enemy did very little personal in- 
jury, not being near enough to us. The firing continued 
the next day. Then we organized ourselves for defense 
under Colonel Hinkle, and returned their fire. I don't 
think we inflicted any damage on our enemies, but it 
reheved somewhat the pressure on our feelings. Henry 
looked as if he could defeat the whole band of 
mobocrats. Fll admit I was a raw soldier, this being 
my first experience with actual warfare. 

There was very little food in the settlement, and 
now, when every avenue of supply was cut off, pro- 
visions became scarce. The little I had brought with 
me helped us materially, though, of course, we could 
not be selfish, but divided with our neighbors. The 
whole community was soon reduced to rations, and 



46 JOHN ST. JOHN 

then shortly there was nothing to divide. Our cattle 
had been driven off, and ofttimes in the night we saw 
the fires by which they were roasted to feed the mob- 
bers. If any of us ventured beyond the settlement in 
search of horse or cow, he was shot at. The nights 
became cold. The few houses, ours among the rest, 
were crowded with women and children. Henry and 
I slept in a wagon box with a canvas for cover. 

In the midst of this phght, the Prophet came to us. 
How he had escaped the vigilance of the mob was a 
marvel; but by traversing unfrequented paths through 
woods under cover of darkness, he had managed to reach 
us. We were wonderfully cheered by his presence. 

The messenger which we had sent to the Governor 
now returned, and he delivered this reply: "The 
quarrel is between the 'Mormons' and the mob, and 
they must fight it out." 

There was no hope, we could see, from those whose 
sworn duty it was to give us protection. We were 
being worn out and starving. The mob said that if 
the "Mormons" would leave, they would pay them for 
their lands. As nothing better seemed possible, the 
people of De Witt entered into an agreement to leave. 
There were very few horses or oxen with which to move. 
One of my horses was lost. All Brother Freland's 
cattle and horses were gone. Our one remaining horse 
was hitched with a neighbor's to my wagon. Place was 
found for the women and children of both families, and 
a few bundles of clothing were crowded in. We started 
for Far West on the afternoon of the eleventh. There 
was many a sorry spectacle in that company, for we 
were already a sad, wornout lot of people. As we pulled 



JOHN ST. JOHN 47 

out across the country, the mobbers occasionally fired 
after us. We were not sure but that they might come 
upon us and destroy the whole company. That day 
we traveled about twelve miles toward Far West and 
camped in a grove. 

Never before have I been so tired and hungry, and 
yet I could not rest nor sleep. Some of the brethren, 
however, lay down on the cold ground and slept the 
sleep of utter exhaustion. What a night that was! I 
want to forget it, though I seem to hear yet the moans 
of the sick and the dying, and the pitiful crying of the 
children in the cold night! 

About midnight, Henry came to me as I was 
taking my turn to stand guard. 

"Marinda is dying!" he said. 

"What? Oh, Henry!" 

"Yes, I couldn't stand it, so I came here. The 
folks are with her." 

I put my arms about him. He was trembling, 
mute for a time, and tearless. Then he managed to 
say: "Let me take your place. You go and say goodby 
to her. I — have — already — done so." 

I could not protest or refuse. I went to the wagon, 
and by the dim lantern light I saw the frail form of the 
little girl lying with her head in her mother's lap. She 
recognized me as I bent forward into the light. Her 
eyes opened for a moment, she smiled faintly, then in 
a few moments, she died. 

(I have for the first time been in the presence of 
death. I can not tell you here what were my thoughts 
and feehngs.) 

Next morning the camp was astir early. Then we 



48 JOHN ST. JOHN 

learned that Marinda's spirit had had company heaven- 
ward: a Mrs. Jensen, still very ill from child-birth, had 
died during the night. Graves were dug that morning, 
and Marinda and the mother were laid away without 
coffins or burial clothes. And there, under the sod, in 
unmarked graves, they lie until the resurrection day. 

On the twelfth we crawled into Far West. 

Dear Folks, I am writing all this simply because I 
promised you I would withhold nothing. I do not like 
to distress you with a sad narrative, but perhaps there 
will be some good come out of my story. 

And now, I am going to tell you a very important 
piece of news: yesterday, I was baptized. I am now a 
member of the Church, which means, I suppose, that 
my lot for good or ill is cast with this people. I am con- 
vinced that what I have done is right. I couldn't 
wait longer. I needed the strength which a member- 
ship in the Church of Christ gives; I needed the endow- 
ment of the Holy Ghost; I need to be a part of the 
Vine — one of its branches — that I may draw substance 
from a Divine source. 

My letter is again long. I want to tell more how I 
feelf but ril wait until I write again. Love to you, 
dear parents — and to the Fentons. I shall write again 
to Dora, soon — tell her. I am eagerly waiting to hear 
from you all. Meanwhile, may the peace and the 
protection of the Lord be about us, is the sincere 
prayer of 

Your Son, 

JOHN. 



JOHN ST. JOHN 49 



CHAPTER SEVEN. 



Far West, Missouri, 

Oct. 20, 1838. 

My Dear Mother: — I have just received your letter 
written from Belford. It has given me both joy and 
pain — joy to hear from you, pain to learn that my 
father has cast off his only son. Well, dear mother, I 
shall remember him still in my prayers, as I am sure, 
you always do. Dora might have inclosed a note, but 
I shall try to be satisfied with her love message sent 
through you. 

May I forget for a few moments the scenes of 
sorrow and dread about me as I make my pen talk to 
you. I wish I could be with you for a little while, to 
sit with you in the window-seat. I could tell you of 
many things which I have learned. (Not the least of 
my happiness would be in the knowledge of a pantry 
full of good things; or perhaps, Jane — bless her heart — 
would come running to us with a plate of cookies, all 
made by herself.) 

There has come to me a wonderful peace since I 
joined the Church — a peace easier to feel and know than 
to describe. It is not a surface satisfaction — for often 
I am fiercely angered by what I see, but cannot prevent 
— but it is as if a light came directly from the 
Celestial Presence and shone into the innermost re- 
cesses of my heart, there to glow with warmth and 
peace and love. It must be, dear mother, a taste of 



50 JOHN ST. JOHN 

; that peace spoken of by Paul as the fruits of the Spirit 

j which "passeth understanding." 

^ I grieve for father, and truthfully, I am sorry 
that I am to lose what means he was to have given 
me; for it would be foolish to say that I care not for 
money, and the things that money will buy, yes, for 

rself and also for those about me whom I love. 
Recently, I have been thinking about my changed 
condition in life. Here I am, a "Mormon," harassed 
and driven to and fro. A year ago I was the pampered 
son and heir of the banker of Belford. Well, truly, 
mother, I am not sorry. A life of slippered ease does 
not tend to develop the best in a man, and I under- 
stand now that my manner of life was having its effect 
on me. Had I continued a few years longer, perhaps I 
should not haye been able to break through the in- 
closing crust. JPrue, I always had longings for some- 
thing else, something indefinitely higher than the life 
I was living, and that led me to much reading and some 
travel. You, I am sure, had something to do with 
that longing, but it was the coming of that Elder and 
the Book of Mormon which was the beginning of a 
new dispensation to me. Had not these come when 
they did, I might now be viewing the art galleries of 
Paris instead of seeing the outrages of Missouri mobo- 
crats. But Truth came, beckoned, and I followed. I 
passed out from the dim uncertainty of a deadly quiet 
into sun and air and sometimes wind and fierce storm; 
for in God's Great Open one must not expect to always 
bask in sunshine and calm. 

Now, mother, do not be unduly alarmed when I 
tell you that I have bought me a gun and fifty rounds 



JOHN ST. JOHN 51 

of ammunition. I am now a warrior, both in body and 
in spirit. I am going to march shoulder to shoulder 
with my dear friend Henry Freland and help to defend 
our God-given right to *1ife, liberty and the pursuit 
of happiness," and to worship God as we please. My 
grandfather fought for these rights, and why should I 
be deprived of them by lawless mobs? — and think of 
it, mother, mobs led by so-called Christian preachers 
of the Gospel, for such is the case here. Is there a 
more glorious cause for which to fight, yes, and if 
need be, to die? 

Brother Joseph is among us, doing his utmost. 
Whatever he may think and feel, he always counsels 
peace and respect for the law. Yet the country is in an 
uproar, and there is a great hue and cry against the 
* 'Mormons." I cannot understand it, knowing the 
character of our people as I do. Of course, we are not 
perfect, and there are some among us who grumble 
and complain. By what I have learned lately, there 
are likely, some traitors with us. Some who have left 
the Church, I am sorry to say, spread all manner of 
lies about the people here, and these wild tales are no 
doubt beheved by our enemies and are used as justi- 
fication for their acts of violence against us. 

Conditions here at Far West are getting serious. 
Practically, all of our people living on nearby farms or 
in adjacent settlements have been driven in to this 
place, until now every house contains two or more 
families, and tents and wagons are pressed into service 
to give some sort of shelter. The weather is cold, and 
food is getting scarce. Recently, Henry and I went with 
a brother back to his own farm to get a load of com. 



52 JOHN ST. JOHN 

It had to be done by night and by stealth for fear of 
the mob. What do you think of having to ''steal" 
from one's own cornfield to get bread to keep one's 
family from starving? 

The mails are very uncertain. One is to leave 
tomorrow, and as I desire to write to Dora, I will close 
this one. Will you please deliver Dora's to her as I 
shall send it along with this one of yours. With kindest 
regard and much love, 

I am, your son, 

JOHN. 

Far West, Mo., Oct. 20, 1838. 

Bear Dora: — I do not know how often you visit Mos- 
ton, and how much you know of that which I have 
written home, for, you see, you have not told me. I 
presume, however, that you are informed somewhat 
of the troublesome times we are having, so I shall not 
repeat my tale of woe to you. 

I am fortunate in having found some very good 
friends with whom I live and who treat me as a mem- 
ber of their family. Brother and Sister Freland are 
from the best families in York state. Their daughter 
Louise is about your age. Henry is two years older 
than I. These people have suffered much for their 
religion. Henry and I have been chummy ever since 
I came. Never having had a brother, I cannot say 
just how I would feel toward one, but I imagine, it 
would be just as I feel toward Henry. 

This is a wild, rough country. The Indians are 
just west of us, (tell Jane ) and I fear many of the early 
white settlers are among the lawless sort who are not 



JOHN ST. JOHN 53 

comfortable in more thickly settled communities. 
There are, of course, many honest people who came 
here to obtain cheap lands and make homes. Life, 
you may imagine, is primitive. The log cabin floor 
is either of puncheon (spht poles) or of packed earth, 
and the furniture is of the crudest kind. Corn is the 
principal article of food which is pounded or roughly 
ground into meal. I have operated a coffee mill, my- 
self, to make coarse meal for bread. There is consider- 
able wild game which furnishes meat. We are a long 
way from the eastern factories, so store goods are 
scarce. Louise's everyday dresses are made from the 
wool which Henry clipped from the sheep and which 
she and her mother carded, spun, wove, cut, and sewed. 
Possibly, these dresses are not up to the latest in style, 
but they are very, very serviceable! Her Sunday 
dress is of gingham, all the way from St. Louis, and 
when she puts a faint crimp in her brown hair, and ties 
it up with a red ribbon, she is not a bad looking girl. 
I am writing like this of Louise because I imagine girls 
are interested in such things, and, of course, I can 
write to you of Louise the same as I can of Henry. 

I hope you have not entirely forgotten me. I 
often think of you and our two homes side by side, 
bound together by a link woven by frequent passing 
to and fro. Do you remember the last time we were 
up in the "Nest?''. . . .1 believe the big tree sympa- 
thized with me. It seemed to lean its branches ca- 
ressingly toward me. I said a lot, you remember, but 
you were silent. Perhaps trees can understand un- 
spo^ken messages, but humans must have some sign or 
token. And I did not understand you. 



54 JOHN ST. JOHN 

You will know by this time that I have joined the 
Church of Jesus Christ, and the world may call me a 
"Mormon." I hope this will make no difference in the 
condition which exists between us. I presume you 
were hurt by the news, but I beg of you to withhold 
your judgment for a time. The Gospel and member- 
ship in the Church mean so much to me; and what- 
soever of good things come to me, Dora, you also must 
share. I have had no other thought or purpose in this 
but that you will be with me. 

Do you ever wander down the path to the bridge? 
Next time you do, just give our initials a little dig, 
down deeper into the wood. Write me a nice, long 
letter, and tell me all about yourself. With love to you 
and all, I am. 

Yours as ever, 

JOHN. 






JOHN ST. JOHN 55 



CHAPTER EIGHT. 

Quincy, 111., March 2, 1839. 

My Dear Mother: — Those that are left of us are rest- 
ing quietly here in Quincy, 111. I am still somewhat un- 
strung, and my head, at times, is in a whirl because of 
the great storm of persecution from which we have 
just emerged; therefore, I do not know how well I shall 
tell my story of the last four months. Thank the Lord, 
there are some of us left to tell the story, and to carry 
on the work. 

From time to time, I have sent you brief notes, 
letting you know that I was still in the land of the 
living. Now, it seems, that we are safe for a season, 
and as I have time for writing I am impressed that I 
ought to record some of my recent experiences. My 
narrative may be somewhat disconnected^ but I shall 
aim at the simple truth. If it shall please God to give 
me posterity, I want them and their contemporaries to 
know what their fathers suffered and endured in order 
to lay the foundation of the great Latter-day Work. 
Those of the future will read, and I hope understand 
and appreciate and profit. 

' Mother, is America the "land of the free and the 
home of the brave?" Is Missouri a part of the United 
States? Is it not all a wild dream of the night that 
thousands of men, women, and children have been 
dispossessed of their property, driven from their 
homes in the depths of winter, and forced from the 



56 JOHN ST. JOHN 

state? As I look about me on my scattered people, I 
realize that it is not a dream.* 

I do not remember just where I left off in my last 
narrative letter to you, but I believe it was before the 
fight at Crooked River and the massacre at Haun's 
Mill. I am not going to dwell in detail on these grue- 
some events for I was not directly connected with them. 
Henry and I both proffered to go with Captain Patten 
and his company to defend the people at a place called 
Log Creek, but we were told that we were needed at 
Far West. Captain Patten met the mob on Crooked 
River, and a fight ensued. The captain, who was one 
of the Twelve Apostles, and a number of others were 
killed, and some others were wounded. 

The massacre at Haun's Mill occurred a few days 
later. A mob of two hundred forty men came suddenly 
on the little company camped peaceably about the mill 
on Shoal Creek, six miles from Far West. I can- 
not tell you what horrors were there committed, but 
when it was all over and the women and children and 
few men remaining crept from their hiding places, 
they found that nineteen men and boys were dead or 
mortally wounded, and about fifteen others were badly 
hurt. 

Conditions were getting desperate, so we at Far 
West decided to organize in self-defense. About this 
time we learned that Governor Boggs had issued an 
order to General Clark, authorizing him to raise two 
thousand men and march against us. "The Mormons," 
the Governor declared, "must be treated as enemies, 
and must be exterminated or driven from the state." 

On October thirtieth, just as the sun was setting 



JOHN ST. JOHN 57 

at Far West, we saw a body of men approaching at a 
distance. At first we thought they were some of our 
own men reconnoitering, but we soon discovered that 
they were the Governor's troops. They camped some 
distance from the town, and that night we threw up 
some breastworks of logs and earth. If we had to 
fight for our fives, we would sell them as dearly as 
possible. During the night, the enemy received 
additional recruits of men fresh from the scenes of the 
Haun's Mill massacre. Among them was one Gillium 
who was called the "Delaware Chief." He was the 
leader of a cut-throat band of mobocrats who decked 
themselves out as Indians, and acted the part of savages 
very well. 

But we were destined not to fight. Colonel Hinkle, 
who had charge of the Far West militia, came to the 
Prophet Joseph on the afternoon of the thirty-first and 
told him that the officers of the invading army wished 
to have an interview with him and some others of the 
brethren. Accordingly, Joseph with four others 
accompanied Colonel Hinkle out some distance from 
the town to where General Lucas with fifty guards 
were stationed. 

"General Lucas," said Colonel Hinkle, "these are 
the prisoners I agreed to deliver to you." 

Colonel Hinkle had turned traitor, and had be- 
trayed the brethren into the hands of their enemies! 

The prisoners were then taken to the enemy's 
camp amid the most diabolical din and demonstration. 
Gillium's "Indians" whooped and brandished their 
weapons in true savage fashion. All that night, the 
brethren lay on the wet ground in a heavy rain, having 



58 JOHN ST. JOHN 

to listen to the vilest language from their guards who 
boasted of their devilish deeds of violence perpetrated 
on "Mormon" men, women, and children. 

During the night a court martial was held. The 
prisoners knew nothing of this until next morning when 
they were informed of the results. It was ordered that 
General Doniphan should take Joseph Smith and the 
other prisoners into the public square of Far West and 
there shoot them, at nine o'clock in the morning. Gen- 
eral Doniphan, however, refused. "It is cold blooded 
murder," he declared, "I will not obey your orders." 
General Doniphan's courageous stand saved the breth- 
ren, for the order was not carried out. 

We at Far West passed a most anxious night. We 
could do nothing. The Prophet and his brethren were 
in the enemy's hands, and resistance on our part would 
mean death to them. We were told that if we wished 
to be spared from immediate extermination, we must 
give up our arms, which we reluctantly did. Immed- 
iately, the mob poured into town. Under pretense of 
searching for arms, they entered houses, tore up floors, 
demolished furniture, upset haystacks, and carried off 
whatever struck their fancy. They insulted and 
abused the people. My pen halts when I attempt to 
tell what unspeakable outrages were perpetrated on 
some of our dear sisters! 

On the morning of the third, Joseph with his fel- 
low prisoners — Hyrum was now with them — were 
brought into town. We hoped they would now be 
released, but they were returned only that they might 
bid farewell to their families. This was a most heart- 
rending sight. Many of us gathered on the public 



JOHN ST. JOHN 59 

square to take what might be our last look at our be- 
loved leaders. They were then taken away under a 
strong guard, for what purpose, we knew not; only we 
surmised that some opportunity might be sought for 
their murder. 

Some of the brethren were later released and joined 
us again. From them we learned that the prisoners 
were taken to Independence where they were "ex- 
hibited" to the curious. They were then taken to 
Richmond, chained together, and thrust into a vile 
prison. After a farcical trial, some were released, but 
Joseph, Hyrum, and a number of others were com- 
mitted for treason and sent to Liberty jail, where, as 
far as we know, they are at this writing. 

On November fourth. General Clark arrived at 
Far West with two thousand more "soldiers." He took 
a great many of the brethren prisoners. I presume that 
Brother Freman was too old and feeble, and Henry 
and I were not "prominent" enough to be molested. 
The inhabitants of the town were placed under strict 
surveillance. Most of the owners of property were 
compelled to sign deeds of trust to pay the expenses 
of the "war." General Clark made a speech in a public 
gathering in which he advised us to scatter abroad and 
never again organize with bishops, priests, etc., lest we 
excite the jealousy of those who do not believe as we do! 
Then he assured us that the fate of our brethren who 
had been taken prisoners was fixed, and that we would 
never see them again. It was the most outrageous 
speech I have ever listened to. I was reminded of this 
from the Fiftieth Psalm: — "Gather my saints together 
unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by 



60 JOHN ST. JOHN 

sacrifice" — but be sure, might be added, that the place 
of gathering be not anywhere in the state of Missouri! 

It was evident that the whole people would again 
have to leave and give up once more all their earthly 
possessions. Many had farms which they had pur- 
chased from the government, and were getting com- 
fortable homes. Brother Freman had as yet very 
little to leave. My property consisted of one horse, 
one poor wagon, and a few hundred dollars in money, 
which the mob did not know about — thank the Lord. 
But where should we go? Further into the wilds of the 
West or the North we could not move because of our 
impoverished condition; Jackson County lay at the 
south; so our only hope was eastward into Illinois. 

The mob was verbally willing that we should re- 
main until spring, but that promise was given the lie 
by their brutal actions. Active preparations were, 
therefore, made for as many as possible to leave. Brig- 
ham Young, the President of the Twelve Apostles, 
took a leading part in seeing that every member of the 
Church who needed help to remove was assisted. I 
obtained another horse, and by repairing the wagon, 
we thought we might make the two hundred mile trip 
to Illinois. Brother and Sister Freland would have to 
ride most of the way, as they were feeble. After we 
were meagerly fitted out, I turned over to the com- 
mittee what little money I had left to assist those 
poorer than we. 

( It is late and I am tired. I shall finish this letter 
in the morning. From the next door, I hear the strains 
of a melodeon and some singing, and the music brings 
me back to Moston, with you, mother, at the organ, 



JOHN ST. JOHN 61 

and Dora and Jane and I standing about you singing . . 
Goodnight. ) 

Next Morning, 

In looking over what I wrote last evening, I 
note that what I have put down is largely of a general 
nature. Now I must tell you what has happened to me 
and to my friends, the Frelands. It is a sad story, and 
my heart is full as I write it. 

After our removal from DeWitt, we occupied 
rather poor quarters in the outskirts of Far West. In 
the overcrowded condition of the town, we could not be 
too particular. Provisions were getting scarce and this 
also worked a hardship on those who were already weak 
from exposure and privations. We all mourned our 
little Marinda. Louise kept up her spirits bravely. 
Henry — well, the smile seldom left his face, even in the 
most distressing situations. He kept his strength and 
his evenness of temper remarkably well. As for me, I 
will admit, I was at times discouraged and sometimes 
I grumbled. On such occasions, Henry, with a word of 
encouragement or with a joke helped me out of the 
Slough of Despond. 

One morning — we were about ready to move — 
one of the brethren came to me and asked me if I had 
a horse. 

"Yes," I replied, "two of them, if they have not 
been stolen over night." 

Then the brother explained to me that some one 
was wanted to do a little scout work. Suspicions were 
felt about a band of mobbers encamped down near the 
junction of Shoal Creek and Goose Creek. It was 
feared that they were planning an attack, just 



62 JOHN ST. JOHN 

when and where, we ought to know, if possible. Broth- 
er Rockwell, who generally did such scout work, was 
away. Would I undertake such an errand? I had a 
horse, I was not well known, the brethren trusted me — 
there would be some danger, but — 

*'ril go," I rephed. '1 want to do what I can. 
As for danger, there is that everywhere just now." 

The brother thanked me, gave me further instruc- 
tions, and then before parting, he gave me a blessing 
which thrilled my very soul. 

I told the folks what I was about to do. Henry 
said he envied me, but the others were perceptibly 
worried. They did not object, however. I was not to 
start until night, so I gave my horse a good rub-down 
and a feeding of the best hay I could find. I packed a 
lunch of corn bread and bacon, and at dusk I was ready. 
I had no weapons. With tears in her eyes, my "Mis- 
souri Mother" kissed me goodbye. 

I knew the lay of the land pretty well, and avoid- 
ing the public roads, I managed to cross Shoal Creek 
at a private ford without being seen by any of the 
mobbers who encamped along the stream. As the 
night was cold and there were prospects of snow, I saw 
that the men kept pretty near to their camp-fires. 
Once passed the creek, I made a detour to the south 
so that I might approach the camps from the direction 
away from Far West. I rode up to within a quarter of 
a mile, then dismounting and fastening my horse in a 
clump of trees, I walked carefully to within safe dis- 
tance of the camp. 

I tried to get close enough to the men who were 
preparing supper to overhear their talk, but I soon 



JOHN ST. JOHN 63 

found that if I was to get information of any value, I 
would have to go right into their camp and mingle 
with them. I hesitated about doing this, but at last I 
asked the Lord for guidance and protection, and then 
I walked boldly up to one of the groups and asked if 
they could spare a hungry traveler a bite to eat. 

Mother, I had to tell some lies and to swear a 
little in order to convince these men that I was one of 
their kind. I think, perhaps, the Lord magnified in 
their ears my tame oaths and emphasized my small 
untruths, for they seemed satisfied. They gave me some 
supper and I sat with them about the fire, listening to 
their talk. As far as I could learn, there was no design 
of concerted action in force against us. They were 
there to get what they could, either of land or of 
property, when the "Mormons" were driven out. And 
this I also learned, that at the foundation of all their 
words and deeds lay a deep, insane, uncalled-for 
hatred of the "Mormons." 

This particular group told some bloodcurdling 
tales of what they had done— some of them had 
been at the Haun's Mill massacre. Three men who 
posed as officers in the mob-militia boasted that 
they made frequent excursions into town "after wo- 
men." I managed to appear unconcerned, even mildly 
interested in what they said. After supper two men 
came and joined the group. They had with them a jug 
of whiskey which they passed around. I went 
through the motions of drinking when it came to me. 

Some men from nearby groups sauntered in. They, 
no doubt, had seen the whiskey jug. One of them 
looked keenly at me, and then called me by name, and 



64 JOHN ST. JOHN 

wanted to know ''what in helF' I was doing there? 
Had I quit the "Mormons" as some of the most 
sensible were doing? 

I could not reply on the instant. I had been dis- 
covered, and how should I get out? I tried to keep my 
wits, and swiftly, silently sent a petition for some 
overruling providence; immediately, my prayer was 
answered. 

It seems that there was some bad blood between 
some of the men. The whiskey had set this blood on 
fire. (For once, blessed whiskey!) Angry words soon 
turned to blows. The rifles were stacked, but some of 
the men wore pistols, and a number of shots were 
exchanged. In the excitement, I easily slipped away 
from the camp, ran to my horse, unfastened him, 
mounted, and rode away. 

The night was now dark. The wind had risen, 
and snow had begun to fall. Should I continue my 
investigations? There were other groups which I 
could visit. But I might be missed and a search might 
be made. I concluded that there was nothing to learn 
which would justify this danger, so I turned my horse 
homeward, where I arrived without further adventure. 

It was nearly midnight, yet Brother and Sister 
Freland were up. The mother was sitting by the table, 
the fear in her face being made gruesome by the flick- 
ering tallow dip. The father was putting on an over- 
coat, preparatory to going out. I asked what the 
trouble was, and they told me this: 

About two hours before, Louise had gone to the 
shed, where we still kept a cow, to get some milk for a 
sick child. The shed, it might be explained, was some 



JOHN ST. JOHN 65 

distance from the house, across a vacant lot. Yes, she 
had taken the lantern with her, which, I mentally said, 
would not only light her way to the shed, but also 
show others to her. Henry had come home from guard 
duty an hour ago. Immediately, he had gone out to 
the shed, but neither of them had returned yet. The 
father was preparing to go out into the stormy night 
to investigate. 

*'You stay here," said I, as I put some wood on 
their dying fire. "Fll go out and find them. Don't 
worry." 

T led my horse to the shed, wondering what it 
could mean. Everything was dark there, and quiet. 
After putting up my horse, I looked about, but no 
trace of the missing ones could I find. The snow-fall 
had been light, and had now nearly ceased. Outside 
the door which opened pasture ward, I saw footsteps 
in the snow, and by close examination I found smaller 
prints mingling in a confused way with those of men's. 
These prints led out from the shed toward the prairie — 
out, it suddenly came to me — toward the camp of the 
mobbers! 

My heart gave a great bound of fear. Had Louise 
been kidnapped? And where was Henry? Should we 
arouse the brethren, so that we could go in force to the 
rescue? That would take time, and time was precious 
in this case. Instinctively I followed the trail out on 
to the prairie. I had no weapons, but I sought and 
found a heavy stake. What could I do alone? I had no 
idea, but I would have to try something. 

For a mile or so I saw or heard nothing. Then I 
was sure I saw a dark spot ahead moving across the 



66 JOHN ST. JOHN 

snow. I quickened my steps. To the right extended a 
fence, nearly parallel to the trail. I left the trail so 
that I could travel faster under the protection of the 
fence. I now gained rapidly, and shortly I could see 
more clearly the movements of the party ahead. I 
now discovered that I was not alone in my trailing. 
Another man was following the party. It must be 
Henry! I watched him crouchingly steal along, taking 
shelter behind every friendly tree or post. The mob- 
bers evidently were not fearing immediate pursuit, or 
Henry — for I was now sure it was he — would have been 
discovered. 

I must join him before he should attempt any 
rescue, but it was risky to be seen out in the open 
snow-covered prairie. In time I maneuvered so that I 
thought I was within speaking distance. Then I 
carefully called, "Henry." He did not hear, and I 
tried again. His whole attention was directed ahead. 
I crept nearer, and then called again. He stopped and 
listened. I crept closer, and once more spoke as loudly 
as I dared, "Henry, it is John. — Wait a moment." 

He recognized me, and I soon joined him as he 
crouched behind a small bunch of brush. He clasped 
me with strong, nervous grip and whispered, 

"Thank God, you have come — They have kid- 
napped Louise — How can we get her away — How can 
we kill the devils before they hurt her?" 

"I don't know, Henry; but we'll make a fight. 
Have you any weapons?" 

"Not a thing," he admitted despairingly. 

I displayed my heavy stick, but he shook his head, 
while I tried my best to reassure him, and at the same 



JOHN ST. JOHN 67 

time think out some plan of rescue. We advanced 
again slowly, silently. I could feel Henry tremble as 
we now faintly heard Louise's sobbing coming to us 
through the night air. 

"Shall we rush them?" I asked. 

"No; not yet; we must abide our time and take 
advantage of the best moment." 

They were now nearing the creek, and getting 
dangerously near their camp. Suddenly, they dis- 
appeared behind a bank. We watched for a moment, 
but they did not reappear. Evidently, they had gone 
down into the creek bottoms. We ran forward, a 
little to the left of where they had disappeared and to 
the leeward of the wind. We saw them under the 
bank, resting on a fallen tree. There were three of 
them only. Louise was crouching in the snow by the 
tree. Being well out of sight, we crept up closer so 
that we could hear nearly all they said. Appar- 
ently, they had no suspicions that they were being 
followed, as their guns stood leaning up against a tree, 
and the men were sitting on the fallen trunk. The 
snow-clouds were breaking in the sky, and a half- 
formed moon shone furtively down on the scene. 

We learned from their talk that two of the men 
could not agree on where they were to take their 
"young lady." The third man seemed to have no in- 
terest either in the girl or their disputes, wanting only 
to get to camp as soon as possible. He did a good deal 
of reckless stamping and swearing, so that much 
of what the other two were saying was lost to 
us. However, they seemed to have come to some 
agreement, as they now arose and tried to get 



68 JOHN ST. JOHN 

Louise to go on with them. She refused, plead- 
ing piteously for them to let her go. We were lying 
fiat on the snow close to the bank, and just as the 
ruffians laid their brutal hands on the girl to lift her 
up, Henry jerked the stake from my hands, and with 
a wild yell rushed forward, making the bank with one 
leap. I followed. Henry struck fiercely but accurately 
at one of the men, and he fell as though dead. The 
other two, surprised for an instant, failed to reach 
their weapons before we grappled with them. We 
fought fiercely. My opponent cursed and swore, but 
I had better use for my breath. Henry soon had his 
man down, but it was not so easy for me. Back and 
forth we struggled. My adversary was bigger and 
stronger than I, but I had the advantage in skill. Even- 
tually, I tripped him and pinioned him to the earth, 
where I knew I could easily hold him. 

At the moment of attack, Louise sprang up with a 
cry of terror, which turned to one of joy when she saw 
who had come to her rescue. She now stood looking 
first at one and then at the other of us. But Henry was 
not holding his own. His burly opponent managed to 
fasten his fingers in Henry's throat, and would soon 
have choked him to death had it not been for Louise. 
She snatched up one of the guns, cocked it, and pressed 
the muzzle against the mobber's head. 

"Let go, or I will kill you," she said. 

The villain scowled up at the girl, but did not 
loosen his grip. 

''Let go this instant, or I shoot!" Louise emphasized 
her threat with a sharp poke of the gun against his 



JOHN ST. JOHN 69 

head. The man loosened his hold and soon Henry was 
again master of the situation. 

But what now could we do? The third man whom 
Henry had felled now groaned and moved, but he soon 
lay still again. Although these men would have killed 
us if they could, we did not want to kill them. We 
wanted to get away. If these men were secured for a 
few minutes, we could get out of their reach. At this 
thought, I told Louise to get a knife out of my coat 
pocket, and cut some broad strips from her skirt. I 
knew the cloth in it was strong for she had made it her- 
self. She did not hesitate to do this, and in a few 
moments, with her help, I had my man's hands se- 
curely tied. It was now an easy task to tie Henry's 
opponent in the same way. 

Just as Henry staggered to his feet, I saw the man 
whom we thought was still insensible, rise to a kneeling 
position, aim and fire a revolver at Henry. With a cry, 
Henry reeled, and would have fallen had Louise and I 
not both reached him. 

"I am shot," he moaned. 

Just then we heard voices some distance away. 
We could not know whether friend or foe was coming, 
but we would take no risks, so we hurried away as fast 
as we could with Henry between us. He urged us to 
hasten, saying that his wound would not amount to 
much, and we must get out of reach of the mobbers. 
We soon learned, however, that Henry was seriously 
hurt. For a matter of ten minutes or so, he managed 
to walk along between us, but then he sagged down. 

"You two go on,'* he whispered. "YouM better — 
let me — lie here.*' 



70 JOHN ST. JOHN 

We managed to reach the shelter of some bushes. 
I hastily made a brush bed for Henry to lie on to keep 
him from close contact with the snow. We heard the 
approaching party find their bandaged friends, but 
evidently, they did not think it worth while trying to 
find us, for they soon left. 

I Henry grew weaker. We opened his clothing and 
found a big, ugly wound in his side. Louise and I 
looked at each other in dismay. What could we do? 
Should I run for help? But I could not leave them; 
and Henry was sinking. All we could do — his sister 
and I — was to pray for him. He lay with his head on 
Louise's lap, with his pale, beautiful face upturned to 
the moon-bathed blue heaven. In ten minutes he died! 
Dear, dear, Henry, my friend, my brother — but I can 
write no more about him — only that I covered him 
lightly with some willow brush. He would have to 
rest alone until morning, — which was not far away — 
until I could bring some help. 

Then I took Louise by the hand and we started 
homeward. The lights twinkling in the town directed 
us. Silently we trudged along. I was tired, but the 
poor girl was weary nearly to exhaustion. I wondered 
at her strength of mind and body. As we neared Far 
West, we saw a dull, red flare shoot into the graying 
sky. A house was burning! As we went on, we found 
that the flames were in the direction of our own dwell- 
ing. This quickened our dragging steps, and sure 
enough, when we were near the town, we saw that our 
humble abode was in flames. Mobbers had fired it, 
and then ridden off. When we arrived, Brother and 



JOHN ST. JOHN 71 

Sister Freland were standing bareheaded, looking in a 
dazed way at the burning home! 

Our household possessions were meagre enough, 
but they were all destroyed. Kind friends provided 
for Louise and her parents. I directed a party 
to where Henry's body lay, and we brought it to town. 
He was buried at Far West. Many of the leading 
brethren attended the funeral services, and spoke 
highly of him. 

About a week after this night of terror and sorrow, 
we left Far West. We gave up the idea of traveling all 
the way by wagon, so we boarded a steamer on the 
Missouri river at the nearest landing, went down that 
stream to the Mississippi, then up the river to this place. 
And so, here we are, as I said in the beginning, what is 
left of us. 

It is now past noon — I have been writing a long 
time. Sister Freland has just come in to tell me that 
they are waiting for me at the table. She asked me to 
whom I was writing such a long letter, and when I told 
her, she said: 

"Give my love to her." 

I gladly do, dear mother. 

Your loving son, 

JOHN. 



72 JOHN ST. JOHN 



CHAPTER NINE. 

Nauvoo, 111., June 29, 1839. 

My Dear Dora: — Your brief note inclosed in moth- 
er's latest letter has been read and reread in hopes that I 
might get from it a little more assurance that you still 
think me worthy of your love. I sometimes fear you 
misjudge — I am sure that you do not fully under- 
stand. My dear, let me repeat: My joining the Latter- 
day Saints has not lessened my love for you; on the 
contrary, the new light and the added hopes which have 
come to me have deepened that love until it has be- 
come a most holy thing. Will you just wait — be patient 
with me — let me prove myself. 

Gladly would I have returned home after our 
exodus from Missouri; but as you may know, father 
does not want to see me, so I thought it best for me to 
remain away. I hope you will believe me when I say 
that I long for a look at you all, and to hear your voices, 
and become a part of the dear home scenes. Perhaps, 
if I were nearer you, I could keep your heart right — 
in my direction. 

I am writing this letter from the window of my 
new home; for you must know that I am building a 
house: I must have some place to keep my guests when 
they come from Moston and "the neighborhood." 
(When you come, bring a root of the climbing rose bush 
from the west wall of your home). My writing table 
is a smooth board, resting on the window sill. My pen 
and ink, as you see, are not of the best; but I still have 



JOHN ST. JOHN 73 

some of the paper you gave me. There was a stack of 
it, you remember. 

If you want to know where I am located, let me 
tell you how you can learn. Get out your map of 
the United States. Find the southern boundary of 
Iowa, and trace it eastward straight across the little 
jog in the comer until you reach the Mississippi river. 
A little south of this point you will see a bend in the 
river. Within the bend on the Illinois side lies the site 
for the future city of Nauvoo. The big river sweeps 
around us on three sides. The ground slopes gradu- 
ally up to the level of the prairie extending eastward. 

I am building my house on the gentle south slope. 
As I write, I can look out on our city in its first stages 
of building. We are as yet in the midst of a wilderness, 
with just a few houses going up here and there. It is 
evening, and the sound of saw and hammer has ceased. 
Not far away, straight ahead, the Father of Waters 
sweeps majestically by. Nearly amidstream is a wood- 
clad island, and beyoad that on the Iowa side is the new 
town of Montrose. The island attracts me. I would 
like to live on it — have it for my very own, like another 
Robinson Crusoe; only, of course, I wouldn't want to 
be too literal about the Crusoe business, as I would want 
a Mrs. Crusoe to share with me the charming exclusive- 
ness of the island! 

The air is delightful this evening. The sky has 
been clear all day. Now the shadows are long and 
deepening. West of me there is a small grove of trees, 
which, because of its standing in a future street, must 
be cut down. (I wish I could transplant some of them 
to my lot near the house. ) The river is now a stream 



74 JOHN ST. JOHN 

of dull, gray metallic substance, and as I gaze upon it, 
my mind's eye lifts beyond the river across the land to 
Moston and the stream and the bridge — and on the 
rustic seat which I made, there sits a girl. It is mid- 
summer. Her white dress is trimmed with blue. The 
gallant Sun, loath to depart, leaves what he can of his 
choicest gifts with her; and for this reason, the warm 
sunlight shines from her face, glows in deep color in her 
lips, tinges her cheeks rosy-red, and lurks in the big, 
soft coils of her hair. Ah, dear me, how envious I am 
of you, Mr. Sun! 

Do you think, my dear, that all this is only a case 
of distance lending enchantment? Many a time at 
home have I thus thought of you, thus seen you, even 
though I may not have expressed it. Never has there 
been any other girl just like you: you stand out sharply 
from the great mass, and I have seen many people in 
my time. Never have I seriously doubted that you and 
I were meant for each other. Even now I do not doubt, 
— I am merely a bit afraid! 

Do you think it strange that I should become a 
carpenter? You see, we must learn to do many kinds 
of work here. I laid most of the stones in the founda- 
tion of my house, likewise did most of the woodwork 
and the painting. So, you see, this house is strictly 
'*home made." My hands are rougher than they ever 
have been, and my clothes smell of paint. And that 
reminds me of an incident. 

The other day Elder Brigham Young — he is 
president of the Twelve Apostles — came by my house 
while I was painting. He saw at a glance that I was a 
novice, and he very kindly gave me some suggestions, 



JOHN ST. JOHN 75 

even taking the brush from my hands and showing me 
how. He is a painter and glazier by trade, and yet he 
is one of our leading men and best preachers. Now, 
this may appear strange to you, who, all your life, 
have thought of ministers of the gospel as being men 
apart from common workmen. However, I read, — 
and so may you — that Peter was a fisherman and Paul 
was a tentmaker. So, you see, the latter-day apostles 
are, in this respect, very much like the former-day 
disciples of the Lord. 

The light is growing less, and I am tired. Write to 
me again, this time, a long, sweet letter, full of that 
sunshine with which you yourself are charged. Give 
my love to your mother and to Jane. Tell my friends, 
if I still have any, that I often think kindly of them; 
and finally believe me to be 

Yours as ever, 

JOHN. 



Nauvoo, 111., July 5, 1839. 

My Dear Father: — I hear of you regularly through 
mother, even though you yourself do not write, and I 
want to tell you that I think of you often — think of you 
as the kind father you have been to me ever since 
childhood. I grieve that I have caused you sorrow 
recently, and that I have so disappointed you. 

If I never see you again, or if I am never to reach 
you by spoken word, I want to tell you this: What I 
have done in joining the ''Mormons" has been actuated 
by the sincerest motives. It has not been dictated by a 
spirit of adventure. In casting my lot with this "pecul- 
iar people," I have not depended on the testimony of 



76 JOHN ST. JOHN 

others, but I have sought out the truth myself and have 
tried to follow the light as it has been given to me. You 
may think me fanatical when I say that I have a tes- 
timony that God lives and that He has raised up a 
prophet who speaks with as much power and authority 
as any ancient prophet ever did. I see that prophet 
nearly every day; I hear his voice; I feel the sweet 
influence of his presence; my soul is nourished by his 
teachings. 

Yes, all this in the midst of poverty and trial. Yet 
I know that we are at the beginning of great things, and 
it gives me courage when I think that I may be a hum- 
ble instrument in helping to lay the foundation of a 
great structure. Either this city, or some other, is 
destined to be great in the elements of true greatness 
which lie in the hearts of the people rather than in 
material things. 

When I look back to my childhood days and try to 
recall my religious impressions, I find much vagueness: 
God was a something which no one could conceive of, 
let alone describe; angels were beings with wings and 
harps and crowns; heaven was a place where all the 
converted went; hell was a place of never-ending tor- 
ment. I used to be an inquisitive boy, and many a 
minister I have annoyed by questions which he could 
not answer. I remember a revival where a number 
of my acquaintances "got religion." I asked some of 
them how they got "it," but they could not explain. 
Everything about it was so hazy, principally a matter 
of the emotions, I suppose. 

I do not pretend to know much yet about the 
great world of truth, but I am sure I am at the thresh- 



John st. John 77 

old, and am in the right way to learn. Ever since I 
was old enough, 1 have thought one should have some 
philosophy of life. Before I met the Latter-day Saints, 
I rarely found anyone who could satisfy my queries of 
why and whence. All life about me was largely chart- 
less and rudderless. My own life was, I am sure, much 
like a fallow field which, I fear, in time would have been 
choked with useless weeds. Now, I am equally sure, 
if I do my duty, even though my life may lead through 
struggle and trial, some day there will come a fruitful 
harvest. 

But I do not want to preach — only I wanted to 
express my inmost heart to you. I hope you will never 
cease thinking of me as a son, even as I shall ever hold 
you as a father. Some day, as sure as God is in Heaven, 
all will be well — if we live up to the light which comes 
to us. 

I believe, father, that this town would be a good 
place in which to begin business. Nauvoo is a coming 
city, and a bank would do well here — not just yet, but 
after a time. Think about it. 

I am sincerely your son, 

JOHN. 



78 JOHN ST. JOHN 



CHAPTER TEN. 



Nauvoo, 111., Aug. 30, 1839. 

Dear Mother: — I was not satisfied with my brief 
letter to you last month, so I shall try to make amends. 

Lately I have been thinking of our recent expe- 
riences in Missouri; and I must acknowledge that I 
cannot quite understand why we should be driven from 
a land which the Lord has pointed out to be the gather- 
ing place of His people. Perhaps we are not good 
enough yet. The Savior likened the kingdom of God 
unto a net cast into the sea, and wherein all kinds of 
fish were caught. Well, we have all kinds of people 
with us, the trials of Missouri having revealed their 
true nature. I fear that the unwisdom of some and the 
wickedness of others have been, largely, the cause of 
our suffering. However, back of this exhibition of 
human weakness shines the everlasting light of God's 
truth, and that assurance gives me comfort and hope. 

I am now quite alone. The Frelands have moved 
a short distance up the river. Though old and ill. 
Brother and Sister Freland were determined to try 
beginning again in a small way for themselves. Louise 
keeps well and strong and is a great help to her parents. 

When we first came here in the spring, the place 
was very unhealthful. The small village of Commerce 
lay near the river in the malarial lowlands. As there 
were but few houses, many lived in their wagons, in 
tents, and others camped in the open air. Our people, 
weakened by the Missouri drivings, had not the vital- 



JOHN ST. JOHN 79 

ity to resist disease, so, many of them became ill. Broth- 
er Joseph had given up his simple house to the sick and 
he lived in a tent. No doubt, all this suffering of his 
people moved the Prophet greatly. On the morning 
of July 22 he arose, and with the power of God resting 
upon him, he began to heal the sick. First, he ad- 
ministered to those in his own house and dooryard, 
passing along to all within reach. Then, with a num- 
ber of the Twelve, he crossed the river to Montrose 
and healed the sick there. Some of those who were 
healed — notably a Brother Fordham — were at the 
point of death. It was a very remarkable demonstra- 
tion of God's power, and it has taught us clearly that 
the promised signs follow the believer in our day as 
well as formerly. 

Since the Prophet has returned to us, he is again 
the center of our life and activity. We are all very 
busy building up our new city, and bringing the ad- 
jacent country under cultivation. Since I left your 
sheltering roof, dear mother, what a variety of work I 
have done! Just now I have obtained a small farm 
eastward from the city, but I doubt whether I shall 
ever be a successful farmer. When it comes to manual 
labor, I think I am apter with tools. A brother ac- 
quaintance is planning to go into merchandising here, 
and he wants me to join him. Perhaps that will be 
more in my line. 

Now I must tell you of a visit paid me by Brother 
Joseph, as we frequently call the Prophet. I was sit- 
ting by my open window after a hard day's work. (I 
had been helping a brother raise the walls of his 
house. ) I was tired, and did not care even to read my 



80 JOHN ST. JOHN 

book. There had been Hght showers during the after- 
noon and a warm, honeyed perfume stole through my 
window. Joseph and Hyrum came down the street. 
Seeing me, they stopped. Hyrum went on, and Joseph 
came to where I was sitting. I placed him a chair, and 
he drew it close to mine, indicating that he wanted to 
be companionable. Joseph's smile seems to come un- 
consciously as if reflecting his beautiful soul. Al- 
though I felt rather than knew I was in the presence 
of a great man, yet I was not ill at ease. There is that 
about the Prophet which draws like the warmth of the 
sun. He is very simple and natural in manner and ad- 
dress, and yet there lies deeply in those blue eyes of his 
the wisdom of worlds! 

When I told him my name, he said he remembered 
me from Far West. He wanted to know how I had 
fared since then and I rehearsed to him my story. 
When I spoke of the death of my friend Henry Fre- 
land, there were tears of sympathy in his eyes. 

Then he began to talk. I have told you how he 
can hold an audience, and now the same wonderfully 
sweet, magnetic voice was giving utterance to divine 
truths in my lone presence. He told me of his vision, 
while yet a boy, of the Father and the Son, and of the 
coming forth of the Book of Mormon. He did not dwell 
long on the unpleasant history of his sufferings in 
Missouri prisons, but he entered into an exposition of 
the gospel. He took me back to a pre-mortal existence, 
and pointed out to me the glories of worlds to come. 
It was wonderful. My heart truly burned within me as 
he talked. I cannot repeat to you all he said, for some 
of it is not to be revealed as yet to the world. He left 



JOHN ST. JOHN 81 

me with a blessing which lingered as a benign influence 
for hours as I sat there alone with the open heavens 
before my eyes. 

Mother, many a dream have I had in the past, even 
as a boy,— day dreams they were, — visions which I 
could not mentally grasp even to the extent of talking 
about them. I think now that they were glimpses 
through a partly opened door into Glory-land. Joseph 
opened widely that door, and my soul feasted. 

That night I dreamed again. I do not know 
whether I was asleep or not. I saw a beautiful Temple 
stand on the highest point of land not far from my 
humble home; and I heard the singing of angels, and 
I saw white-robed men and women in that Temple 
on the hill. 

And now, dear mother, there is a bit of news for 
you. The other day a message came to me that I was 
wanted to go and preach the gospel. Would I, could 
I go? I answered, yes, with a quaking heart. What 
else could I say? So I am called on a mission, and will 
start within a week. I am to go up into Michigan and 
perhaps to Canada. A family, just arrived from the 
East, will finish, then occupy my house. They wanted 
to buy it, but I do not wish to sell. In the building of 
this little home, I have had fond anticipations which I 
want to see realized. This may be the last letter I may 
write from Nauvoo before I leave, but I shall try to 
let you know from time to time of my doings. 

I note in your letter how father received my com- 
munication to him, and how he handed it to you. I 
hope some good will come of it. Remember me kindly 



82 JOHN ST. JOHN 

to him,— and the others. God bless you. Do not 
forget me in your prayers. I shall need them more 
than ever, for I shall need all the strength I can 
muster for this mission. 

Sincerely your son, 

JOHN. 




JOHN ST. JOHN SS 



CHAPTER ELEVEN. 

Nauvoo, 111., Nov. 1, 1842. 

My Dear Mother: — ^As you see, I am back in Nau- 
voo again. I arrived here some time ago, but I have 
been too ill to write before. I am better now, and so I 
shall try to make up to you for lost time. 

You will remember that in my last note I sent you 
from Canada, I said that the climate did not agree with 
me, but thought that when I got back to Nauvoo, 1 
would soon be well; it has taken me three months 
to get out and around again, — three of the longest 
months I have ever experienced. Brother and Sister 
Freland, with others, have again been very kind to me, 
and nursed me in my sickness. 

As you know, dear mother, I have always enjoyed 
good health, and so this also was an experience. My 
Heavenly Father has surely taken me in hand. 
Through all my afflictions, His Spirit has been my con- 
stant companion. I suppose it has been for a wise 
purpose that at this stage of my life I should learn what 
physical pain and suffering is; and so, I am ready to 
acknowledge the hand of the Lord both in my sickness 
and my restoration. Suffering seems to touch certain 
deeply hidden springs of the soul, (You, dear mother, 
know) springs which otherwise never would have been 
reached. I hope I shall be better, wiser, kinder, braver, 
and more faithful now than ever before. 

I am not now going to enter into a detailed account 
of my missionary experiences or add to the brief let- 



84 JOHN ST. JOHN 

ters I sent you from time to time from the mission 
field and when otherwise engaged away from that work. 
(I want to reserve that telhng until I can sit near 
you and look into your dear face.) However, this I 
must say, that my experiences in the field have been 
wonderful. I never fully realized before what joy there 
is in bringing the truth to others. ''Man is that he 
might have joy," and now I know that the greatest joy 
comes from unselfish service. 

Our city has made a wonderful growth since I have 
been away. I hardly recognized the place again. Peo- 
ple are thronging in, and a wave of prosperity seems to 
be sweeping toward us. Many people are coming from 
England, and work of various kinds must be provided 
for them. This makes our city a hive of industry, the 
Prophet, as always, being the center of activity. New 
stakes are being organized in the region around about. 

My little place has been well taken care of and the 
farm land is under cultivation. My tenants are now 
about ready to move into a home of their own, so I 
shall soon take possession again of my little abode. 
There are some repairs to make and some improvements 
which I have in mind, but these will have to wait. 

Louise is to be married next week. I am glad that 
she is getting a good young man, by name, William 
Dana. 

Have I ever told you that we are building a temple? 
At the April conference of last year, the corner stones 
were laid with impressive ceremonies, and witnessed 
by a large concourse of people. It is being built on the 
elevated ground a few blocks up from my house. (I 
saw it in vision before I went on my mission). The 



JOHN ST. JOHN 85 

Prophet has been telling us that it is necessary to iDuild 
a temple wherein there shall be a font in which to per- 
form baptisms for the dead. This is new doctrine to 
the modern world; but it is a beautiful idea, is it not, 
that all those who have not heard and obeyed the gospel 
in this life may hear and receive it in the next, and that 
we who are living may be baptized for those who are 
dead. At the last October conference, Joseph spoke 
very emphatically on this subject. Some baptisms for 
the dead had been performed in the Mississippi river; 
but now, the Prophet declared, there should be no 
more such baptisms until they could be performed in a 
font in the Lord's House. Those who attend to this 
ordinance become saviors on Mount Zion. Jesus, 
while His body lay in the tomb, was a ministering 
Spirit to the spirits in prison. "There is never a time," 
said Joseph, "when the spirit is too old to approach 
God." (When I heard this, I thought of the eternal- 
hell-fire sermons which Parson Tomkins used to preach. ) 
Joseph enlarged on this theme, and said that those who 
neglect this work for their dead relatives, do it at the 
peril of their own salvation. (Father's genealogy, 
running as it does into the English nobility, is well 
kept. What about yours? ) 

I am sending you the Times and Seasons as it 
comes from the press so that you can see more fully 
than I can write what is being done and taught among 
us. I call your special attention to the translations 
which the Prophet has published, called the Book of 
Abraham, Is it not a marvel that Abraham should 
know more about the stars, planets, and worlds in 
general than the wisest of present-day astronomers! 



86 JOHN ST. JOHN 

The Prophet is a very busy man. (You note, 
mother, that I cannot get away from his sayings and 
doings; but you will understand the reason for this.) 
Besides preaching, baptizing, and counseling, he takes 
an active part in the temporal welfare of the city. All 
this work is done under heavy handicap. Much of the 
time this summer and fall Joseph has had to remain in 
hiding in order to keep out of the way of his enemies. 
Last May, ex-Governor Boggs of Missouri was shot and 
severely wounded. Although Joseph was in IlHnois 
at the time, he was accused of the deed, and the officers 
tried to have him brought to Missouri to stand trial. 
But Joseph would not go to Missouri to be butchered, 
and we are glad of it. 

Now I come to a personal matter. Mother, I want 
to see you; and as I cannot go to Moston for that pur- 
pose, will you not come to Nauvoo? The journey need 
not now be hard, as most of it can be made by boat 
on the Ohio and the Mississippi rivers. I can make you 
quite comfortable now. And mother — happy thought 
— get Dora to come with you. The trip would do her 
good. If Dora would come and see and listen for her- 
self, she might be impressed. Of course, I would not 
want you to do this without father's full consent. Think 
and pray about it. The first I have done, the second 
I shall do. 

With greetings and love, 

JOHN. 



JOHN ST. JOHN 87 

CHAPTER TWELVE. 

Moston, Nov. 1, 1842. 
Mr. John St. John, 

Nauvoo, 111. 
Dear John: 

Your father died yesterday evening at 7:30. He 
had been ill but a week, and we did not think it was 
serious. I can't write very much now, but will try 
again later. I think there is no need of your com- 
ing home, as all his affairs are in the hands of his 
lawyers. They called today and said they would take 
care of everything. At least, wait until you hear from 
me again before you think of coming. 

Your loving mother, 

REBECCA ST. JOHN. 



Moston, Nov. 7, 1842. 

My Dear John: — Sweet, womanly little Jane Fen- 
ton is here with me — right here with me in the room while 
I write this letter. She is not only my "body guard," 
she says, but my "mind mentor" also. She has visited 
with me a good deal during the past year, and she has 
been with me all the time since your father died. Mrs. 
Fenton has kindly "loaned" her to me. I don't know 
what 1 would do ^^athout her. She helps me very much 
to keep my mind off my sorrows. 

Now that I have introduced this letter by a pleas- 
ant bit, I must tell you some things which are not so 



88 JOHN ST. JOHN 

agreeable. Lately, as you know, I have not been send- 
ing you much money, because I have not had it. The 
fact is that your father was hard hit in the panic which 
swept over the country a year or so ago, and he has 
been barely able to struggle along. This, no doubt, 
was one cause of his death. The lawyers have been 
working with his books and his affairs for some days, 
and today they informed me that the bank and all its 
interests go out of our hands. Moston is all that is 
left me. I am glad to say that to the last your father 
was strictly honest in all his business transactions, and 
so he made it possible that when we laid him away in 
our private graveplot at Moston, though he left no 
wealth, he owed no man anything. I only wish he had 
also been a little more proudly exact with himself and 
his soul's salvation. 

Since you left home, your father hardly ever spoke 
of you; and I fear that even if he had left a fortune, 
none of it would have gone to you. During the last 
few days of his life, when he was lying still and speech- 
less, slipping quietly away, his eyes would frequently 
open and fix on your picture which stands on the bureau. 
One day, when I was out of the room, he motioned for 
Jane to bring the picture closer to him. And so, from 
little things like that, I am satisfied that his heart was 
softened towards you at the last. 

I am sure now that you need not come home. 
Instead, I am coming to you! I have about decided 
that to be the best I can do. Your life — heart and soul, 
is with your people, — as it should be. I glory in your 
steadfastness to the truth. My prayers have always 
been that the Lord would grant you success in what you 



JOHN ST. JOHN 89 

have set out to accomplish, — preserve you from falHng 
back into a Hstless world. As you well know, my heart 
is also with the restored gospel. I know that it is the 
truth. I am coming to Nauvoo, and if the Lord will be 
so gracious to me, I am going to be baptized by the 
Prophet himself. 

But I shall have to content myself to wait until 
spring. Have your little home ready for me. We 
two, if no more, shall live there in peace with the 
saints of God. I shall sell Moston, and with the pro- 
ceeds you may get a start in business in Nauvoo, if you 
think that is to your liking. You see, my dear boy, I 
have made beautiful plans, and I am going to try to 
turn the Lord's trials into the Lord's blessings. 

But what about Dora? asks your questioning 
heart when you read this. I have said nothing about 
her in my plans. Well, I do not know what to say. 
She is a puzzle. Sometimes I think she loves you very 
much. Beautiful she is as ever, and good, too, and ten- 
der of heart; but she appears incased in a hard, worldly 
shell which, I fear, cannot be broken by gentle means. 
For her sake and for your sake, I hope the Lord will 
take her in hand. 

Mrs. Fenton and the girls have been a great comfort 
to me. Mrs. Fenton's knowledge of business has as- 
sisted me in some things which I fear I could not have 
accomplished alone. They want me to close up Mos- 
ton and come and live with them, but this I cannot do. 
Mrs. Fenton has kindly permitted Jane to remain with 
me as long as I desire, which Jane says shall be "for- 
ever and ever," — bless her heart. 

Moston is lying peacefully under its first cover of 



90 JOHN ST. JOHN 

snow which came last night, so Jane and I shall house 
up to day. We make good use of our indoor times. 
Jane is a good reader, and she takes delight in reading 
the Book of Mormon aloud to me. The other day, 
when our hearts were very sad, Jane opened the book 
to III Nephi, chapter eleven, and read the beautiful 
account of Christ's appearance to the people on this 
continent. How very sweet that story is! There were 
tears in our eyes. 

"I never dreamed that such wonderful things 
could be true,'' said Jane. "Think of it — the Lord 
coming right down from heaven to the people, speaking 
gently to them, and inviting them to come and feel of 
the nail prints in His hands and feet, so they might 
know for sure that He was the Jesus who was cruci- 
fied. I wish I had been there." 

"Yes," I said, "it was indeed wonderful. Many a 
time, as a child reading about the Savior, I wished I 
had lived in the days of Jesus and the apostles; but we 
must not forget," I reminded her as I looked into her 
shining eyes, "that the Lord has visited the earth in 
our day, and that right now. He has a prophet who can 
speak in His name." 

"And John has seen and heard that prophet," 
added Jane, with implicit trust in the truth of her 
statement. 

"Yes, dear; and so I hope shall — " I was going to 
say "I" but "we" came instead. I hope it was said 
with a spirit of prophecy: for John, I have this plan 
which I might as well reveal to you now: 

I do not want to travel alone to Nauvoo; I shall 
want Jane to go with me; then Mrs. Fenton will want 



JOHN ST. JOHN 91 

Dora to go along to look after her younger sister; I shall 
be Dora's chaperon; so, you see, the arrangement will 
be complete. Am I not a schemer? Do you think you 
can take care of such a lot of visitors? 

Later. — Dora came to supper, and has spent the 
evening with us. She is very thoughtful about calling 
to see us. She told us all the latest news from Belford, 
— about which I do not care, — and then when she 
learned that I was writing to you, she said: "Give him 
my love — and, mother,'' — she calls me mother when 
she is in her sweetest mood as she was this evening, — 
"tell him that we are all coming to see him and his won- 
derful city in the spring." 

I looked at her in astonishment. I had never 
spoken to her about such a journey, yet the idea was 
already in her head. 

"All right, I'll tell him," I replied; "but when it is 
said, you must keep your word." 

She put her arms about me and smiled into my 
face. 

"Mother," she protested, "I may be a foolish 
girl in many ways, but I always keep my word, do I 
not?" 

And I had to admit that she does. And so, you 
see, things are coming your — ^yes, our way. 

Dora has gone now, and Jane says it is time for 
me to go to bed. She is right, for I am tired, so good 
night to you from your loving 

MOTHER. 



92 JOHN ST. JOHN 



CHAPTER THIRTEEN. 

John St. John received the definite word early in 
the spring of 1843 that his mother, Dora, and Jane 
were coming to Nauvoo. He read and reread the brief 
letter of announcement which was signed formally by 
the three, and a wave of joy surged through his heart. 
Yes, the Lord was good. 

John had built two more rooms on his house, 
which brought the number up to five. With the ex- 
pectancy of his loved one's coming always before him, 
he had finished and furnished his rooms as well as the 
times and his means would permit. 

Before and after his working hours at the store 
where he was employed he busied himself within and 
without his home. Early that spring he laid out walks, 
sowed lawns, and fashioned here and there some 
flower beds, which he planted with what hardy seeds 
he could obtain. His front yard lay toward the south 
and the river, and by the side of the house, where the 
view of the water was clear, he built a rustic seat, 
above which on three sides extended a trellis on 
which the ivy was to climb. In his lot at the back of the 
house John planted some grape vines, apples trees, 
and peach trees, and his vegetable garden was among 
the best in Nauvoo. 

In all this activity John realized the joy of work. 
He often thought of the past and what might have 
been, but he had now no vain regrets. Had he not 
joined the "Mormons" and had he remained at home, 



JOHN ST. JOHN 93 

his father would have built for him and for Dora a 
much finer house, and he would not have needed to 
soil a finger over its building. But what he would have 
missed! Surel3^ there is no joy that can take the place 
of this simple home-building when most of the work is 
done by those who shall dwell therein! 

And John St. John's home was only one of many 
which were being made in Nauvoo. On every hand, 
the city was growing like magic. Houses were springing 
up, gardens and fields took the place of wilderness and 
prairie. Skilled workmen came from the East and from 
England, for whom workshops and factories were 
erected. Addition after addition was platted and made 
a part of the city, until soon its limits reached three or 
four miles up and down the river and the same dis- 
tance eastward on to the prairie. Nauvoo's fifteen 
thousand inhabitants, living contentedly within the 
half encircling arms of the Father of Waters, occupied 
the finest site in the state for a big city. Chicago, 
across the state on Lake Michigan, was as yet a 
struggling village. 

Mrs. St. John and the girls arrived at Nauvoo 
early in June. Of course, the boat from St. Louis was 
late that day. John knew it would not arrive until 
noon, but he began watching for it hours before. 
Sister Freman had come to help him keep house and 
prepare a welcome for this guests. For a long time, 
these two watched and waited. Then at last, well 
towards evening, when they saw the smoke of the 
steamer down the river, John hurriedly put in readi- 
ness the carriage and the wagon for the trunks. When 



94 JOHN ST. JOHN 

the steamer paddled slowly up to the landing, he was 
there, waiting. 

Quite a company of Saints was on board, and so 
John and his small party were not conspicuous in the 
general bustle of embarking. The driver of the wagon 
was given instructions regarding boxes and trunks, and 
then the mother and the girls were helped into the 
carriage. As the distance to the house was not far. 
Sister Freman soon welcomed them from the doorway, 
bidding John to hurry them in to the delayed dinner. 
That young man soon helped his passengers to alight; 
and as he swung Jane, the last of them, to the ground, he 
remarked: 

"Why, Jane, you're as heavy as your sister.*' 
"I ought to be,'' she replied, "I am as big." 
Sister Freman now took the arrivals in charge, 
while John went out to dispose of his team. This done, 
he came back, but lingered on the outside as if 
timid about going in. But that was not wholly 
the reason. He wanted the joy of this occasion 
to come to him dignified, unhurried. He wanted to 
control any indiscreet rush of feeling. It takes time for 

happiness to sink deeply into the heart His 

mother had aged since he had last seen her, but the 
same sweet face had pressed his during their greeting 
in the same peculiar way she had always had ever since 
he could remember. Dora was older, too, graver, 
yet more beautiful. And Jane — how she had grown! 
She was nearly a young lady herself. 

The trunks now came, and John helped to un- 
load them. Dora asked to have hers placed in her room, 
as she needed some "things" contained therein. When 



JOHN ST. JOHN 95 

all were ready for dinner, Mrs. St. John and Jane had 
only "washed up a bit/' but Dora had changed her 
traveling dress for a beautiful white gown, trimmed 
with blue. At sight of it, John's eyes opened wide and 
his heart leaped: she looked so much like the dream- 
picture of her which he had carried in his heart for so 
long! 

Lamps were lighted and blinds were drawn before 
they sat down to the table. John declared he was not 
very hungry, so he claimed the privilege of seeing that 
all the others were helped, even protesting Sister 
Freman. 

At first, there was very little said by those about 
the table: deep joy need not be expressed in words. 
All in their own way were drinking thankfully of the 
spirit of gladness which was present. The mother's 
eyes were on her son. He had left her a boy; he was 
now a man, bigger, broader of shoulder, a little changed 
in face; wiser, no doubt, in the wisdom of God as well 
as of man. No wonder that Dora's glances turned 
repeatedly toward him, and that Jane openly told him 
how handsome he had become. 

As Jane's hunger became somewhat appeased, her 
tongue found ready words. She answered John's 
questions about Moston, and went into details regard- 
ing the journey which to her had been delightful. At 
the close of the meal, John suggested that the weary 
travelers might want to retire early. 

"I'm not a bit tired, now, after that good dinner," 
said Jane. "I want to see the Prophet." 

"Jane," admonished Dora. "Don't be so foolish." 



96 JOHN ST. JOHN 

John laughed. ''In good time, Jane, you shall 
see him/' 

'Tomorrow?" she asked. 

"I can't say as to that. He's not always at home. 
Tomorrow we'll take a ride about the city, and then 
Sunday we'll go to meeting. Very likely the Prophet 
will speak, and then you'll both see and hear him." 

The next day was clear and beautiful. When 
Jane Q,ot up, followed by Mrs. St. John and Dora, John 
had already gone to the store to do a little work and to 
get excused for the day. Jane soon explored the garden, 
and looked critically at John's attempt at beautifying 
the grounds. When she discovered the rustic seat, 
now partly hidden by the ivy, she called for her sister 
to come and see. The two seated themselves and looked 
toward the town and the smoothly flowing river. 

The mother quietly looked about the house which 
was now to be her home; for she had sold Moston, and 
had left it and all else which had bound her to her old 
world and its life. She had now cast her lot definitely 
with her son and his people, who shortly would also be 
her people. 

During the day, John showed them the points of 
interest in the new city. The temple, its gray lime- 
stone walls now about twenty feet high, crowned the 
highest point in the center of the city. John called his 
visitors' attention to the signs of growth and prosperity 
everywhere, and explained that this had been accom- 
plished within the short space of three or four years. 

That first Sunday (which was June 11) John and 
his company went to meeting in the Temple. To those 
who had been used to worship in the small, cushioned- 



JOHN ST. JOHN 9? 

pewed church at Belford, this big, open-aired congre- 
gation gathering within those unfinished walls, was 
new and strange. The floor was made of unplaned 
boards. The seats were of unpainted lumber. Above 
the rough masonry of partly completed walls extended 
the open blue of heaven. 

Great crowds came and seated themselves in 
order. The leading elders of the Church took their 
places on the stand, among them Joseph Smith, the 
Prophet. At the appointed time there was singing, 
then prayer, and singing again, after which the Prophet 
arose to speak. 

"I am a rough stone," he said. "The sound of the 
hammer and chisel was never heard on me until the 
Lord took me in hand. I desire the learning and wis- 
dom of heaven alone. I have not the least idea, if 
Christ should come to the earth and preach such rough 
things as He preached to the Jews, but that this gen- 
eration would reject Him for being so rough." 

John looked at Dora. He did want her to get a 
favorable impression, and he was a little fearful. Jos- 
eph's manner of speech was frequently blunt. It 
lacked the fine polish of the educated preacher of the 
world with his *'firstly's" and his "finally's" and his 
ministerial intonations. Sometimes Joseph was 
"rough" as he had indicated, and sometimes people 
were offended. John hoped Dora would not be 
offended. 

Joseph continued: "The main object (for the 
gathering of the Jews) was to build unto the liOrd a 
house whereby He could reveal unto His people the 
ordinances of His house and the glories of His kingdom, 



98 ' JOHN ST. JOHN 

and teach the people the way of salvation; for there are 
certain ordinances and principles that, when they are 
taught and practiced, must be done in a place or house 
built for that purpose." .... 

"It is for the same purpose that God gathers to- 
gether His people in the last days, to build unto the 
Lord a house to prepare them for the ordinances and 
endowments, etc. One of the ordinances of the house of 
the Lord is baptism for the dead. God decreed before 
the foundation of the world that the ordinance should 
be administered in a font prepared for that purpose 
in the house of the Lord." 

"Many men will say, *I will never forsake you, 
but I will stand by you at all times.' But the moment 
you teach them some of the mysteries of the kingdom 
of God that are retained in the heavens and are to be 
revealed to the children of men when they are prepared 
for them, they will be the first to stone you and put 
you to death. It was this same principle that crucified 
the Lord Jesus Christ, and will cause the people to kill 
the prophets in this generation." 

"The righteous and the wicked all go to the same 

world of spirits until the resurrection The 

great misery of departed spirits in the world of spirits, 
where they go after death, is to know that they come 
short of the glory that others enjoy and that they 
might have enjoyed themselves, and they are their 
own accusers." 

"Gods have an ascendency over the angels who are 
ministering servants. In the resurrection, some are 
raised to be angels; others are raised to become Gods." 

"These things are revealed in the most holy place 



JOHN ST. JOHN 99 

in a Temple prepared for that purpose. Many of the 
sects cry out, 'Oh, I have the testimony of Jesus; I have 
the Spirit of God; but away with Joe Smith; he says he 
is a prophet; but there are to be no prophets or revela- 
tors in the last days!' Stop, sir! The Revelator says that 
the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy; so by 
your own mouth you are condemned. But to the text. 
Why gather the people together in this place? For the 
same purpose that Jesus wanted to gather the Jews — 
to receive the ordinances, the blessings, and glories 
that God has in store for His Saints." 

At the close of the meeting John walked homeward 
with Dora, hoping that she would make some comment 
on what she had seen and heard; but she was silent. 
Mrs. St. John also was quiet, as if what she had heard 
was more suited for contemplation than for expression. 
But Jane could not keep still, and Mrs. Freland, at 
least, was a wiUing listener. 

"And what do you think of the Prophet?" asked 
Mrs. Freland. 

"Isn't he fine. You can't help but listen when 
he speaks. And he says such wonderful things." 

"Do you think so?" 

"Yes, I didn't understand all he said, but I felt that 
it was true. Why, thrills went through me when 
I looked into his face and listened closely to him. There 
wasn't much chance to go to sleep in that church, was 
there?" 

"Well, you see, there was plenty .qJl fresh air." 

Shortly after the ser\nce Mrs. Freman parted from 
her friends to return to her own liome^; . Mrs/ SI -John, 
with the two girls as helpers, noiw took charge of the 



100 JOHN ST. JOHN 

household affairs, and John was glad to see them go 
about the work so light-heartedly. Dora donned a big 
work apron which, to the young man's adoring eyes, 
became her beautifully. Neatly, deftly, she went 
about the work! There was grace even in her dish- 
washing! 

Around the table that evening, the talk turned to 
what the Prophet had said about the temple. He had 
urged all to do what was in their power to help complete 
the building so that the blessings spoken of might be 
enjoyed by the people. Mrs. St. John had brought with 
her the price of her home. From this, she explained, 
she would give a liberal donation to the Temple Com- 
mittee. There would still remain enough to pay John's 
few debts and to establish him in a small business. 
They talked these things over freely as though they 
were all members of one family whose interests were 
common. True, Dora said very little, and when at 
last John turned to her for an opinion on a business 
venture, she said: 

'*If you do that, it will mean that you will have to 
remain here for a long time — for years?" 

"Yes; of course. We are to stay here and grow up 
with the country." 

"Then— then, I don't know," she faltered. She 
became quiet again, and shortly arose and went to her 
room. John looked anxiously at his mother. 

"Mother, go to her and do what you can for her — 
and for me, 7 -he whispered. 

"Not now," she replied; "after a while." 



JOHN ST. JOHN 101 



CHAPTER FOURTEEN 

The Sunday following, they came in touch for the 
first time with the kind of trouble which had now be- 
come the common heritage of the Latter-day Saints. 
It happened in this way: 

They were all again at the services in the Temple 
Sunday afternoon, June 25. While one of the eiders 
was preaching, Patriarch Hyrum Smith came into the 
meeting and strode to the stand. The speaker ceased, 
and Hyrum, turning to the meeting, asked the men 
present to meet him at the Masonic Hall in thirty 
minutes. The men left immediately, and the meeting 
came to a close. 

"What is the matter?" asked Mrs. St. John of 
her son. 

"I do not know, but I fear Joseph is in trouble." 

"Is there any danger?" 

"Not for us. You folks go home, and Til no doubt 
soon follow, and tell you all about it." 

John with his brethren gathered to the designated 
place; but so many responded to the call that one fourth 
of them could not get in the room. Adjournment was 
therefore taken to the green where a hollow square was 
formed. Hyrum then told them that Joseph had been 
kidnapped by Sheriff Reynolds of Jackson County, 
Missouri, and Sheriff Wilson of Carthage. He explained 
as far as he had learned what had happened to his 
brother, and then asked for volunteers to go to his 
assistance. About three hundred men answered to the 



102 JOHN ST. JOHN 

call, from which seventy-five were selected. These 
immediately provided themselves with horses and 
equipment, filling their powder horns and flasks from 
Wilford Woodruff's ammunition barrel, and were 
soon off for the rescue, while seventy-five others took 
passage on the "Maid of Iowa" up the river. 

John was among the number whose services were 
not required, so he returned home, where he found his 
mother and the girls nervously awaiting his coming. 
He told them what he had heard, and what had been 
done. 

"But why are they after the Prophet all the time?" 
asked Jane. "Why do the Missourians want him?" 

"The complete answer to your questions is a long 
story, Jane. Although Joseph is not guilty of the crimes 
they lay at his door, you will notice this" — John ad- 
dressed himself to the little group about him — "that 
the enemy always strikes at the head. The head of the 
Church must always stand the brunt of attacks." 

"But I don't understand," persisted Jane. 

"No, neither do I, nor any of us, only that this is 
merely an example of the eternal conflict between the 
evil powers and the work of the Lord. However, there 
seems to be discernible causes for much of our trouble. 
I doubt whether the Missourians would bother them- 
selves about us if it were not for the work of traitors!" 

"Traitors!" 

"Yes; one of the saddest things is that men who 
have been one with us at least outwardly, and have 
been in the confidence of the Prophet, have now turned 



JOHN ST. JOHN 103 

against him. They have become so embittered that 
they would kill him if they could." 

"Gracious!" 

"John C. Bennett was once mayor of the city and 
Joseph's friend. Now he is among the chief conspir- 
ators for his destruction." 

Dora listened, without comment, to John's ex- 
planations, only raising her eyes now and then to his 
as she went about her work in the room. The mother 
ceased her reading of the Times and Seasons. Jane 
for once was content to sit still and listen while John 
talked as he did that afternoon. 

Meanwhile, what was happening to Joseph? 

A few days before, the Prophet with his family had 
gone to visit with his wife's sister who lived near Dixon, 
some two hundred miles north from Nauvoo. Gover- 
nor Ford of Illinois, on a requisition of the Governor of 
Missouri, had issued an order for Joseph's arrest, based 
on the old treason charge. By passing themselves off 
as "Mormon" elders seeking the Prophet, Sheriffs 
Reynolds and Wilson had found where Joseph was 
staying, and they pounced upon him one day while he 
was walking in the yard . With cocked revolvers pointed 
at his breast, they swore with shocking oaths that they 
would kill him if he attempted to escape. 

"What is the meaning of all this?" inquired 
Joseph. 

He was answered by more oaths and threats. 

"I am not afraid of your shooting," declared the 
Prophet. "I am not afraid to die." He bared his 
breast and told them to shoot away. "I have endured 
so much oppression, I am weary of life; and kill me, if 



104 JOHN ST. JOHN 

you please. I am a strong man, however, and with my 
own natural weapons could soon level both of you; but 
if you have any legal process to serve, I am at all times 
subject to law, and shall not offer resistance." 

Stephen Markham, who had come posthaste 
from Nauvoo to warn the Prophet, now appeared on 
the scene. When the sheriffs saw him coming, they 
turned their weapons on him, threatening to kill him 
if he came nearer. Markham paid no attention to 
their threats but continued to advance. They then 
turned their pistols on Joseph again, jamming them 
against his sides, ordering Markham to stand still or 
they would shoot Joseph through. 

The officers now hurried their prisoner around to 
the front of the house and into their wagon, and were 
about to drive off without letting him get his hat and 
coat or say goodby to his friends and family. Mark- 
ham now sprang to the horses, and seizing them by the 
bits, held them until Emma, Joseph's wife, could come 
out with his clothes. The officers again threatened to 
shoot, but Markham replied that "there is no law on 
earth which requires a sheriff to take a prisoner without 
his clothes." 

Then away they went full speed to the town of 
Dixon. Markham followed on horseback. For eight 
miles, the dastardly officers jammed their pistols into 
their prisoner's side, desisting only on being re- 
proached by Markham for their cowardice. 

Arriving at Dixon, Joseph was thrust into a room, 
and communication denied him with any person. Mr. 
Dixon, the owner of the house, and some of his friends, 
being aroused to the gravity of the situation, now took 



JOHN ST. JOHN 105 

a hand to see justice done, with the result that Joseph 
obtained a writ of habeas corpus, returnable before 
Judge Caton of Ottowa. Markham now swore out 
writs against Reynolds and Wilson, and they were 
accordingly placed under arrest by the constable. In 
this way, the whole company set out for Ottowa for 
trial. 

They stopped for the night at Pawpaw Grove, 
thirty miles on their way. The news of Joseph's arrival 
was hastily circulated about the neighborhood, and 
very early next morning, the largest room in the hotel 
was filled with citizens who were anxious to hear the 
Prophet preach. But Sheriff Reynolds entered the 
room, and pointing to Joseph, said : 

"I wish you to understand that this man is my 
prisoner, and I want you to disperse: you must not 
gather around here this way.'' 

At this an old lame gentleman advanced toward 
Reynolds, and bringing his large hickory walking stick 
with a thump to the floor, said in no uncertain tones: 

"You damned infernal puke, we'll learn you to 
come here and interrupt gentlemen. Sit down there, 
(pointing to a very low chair) and sit still. Don't 
open your head till General Smith gets through talking. 
If you never learned manners in Missouri, we'll teach 
you that gentlemen are not to be imposed upon by a 
nigger-driver. You cannot kidnap men here, if you 
do in Missouri; and if you attempt it here, there's a 
committee in this grove that will sit on your case; and, 
sir, it is the highest tribunal in the United States, as 
from its decision there is no appeal." 



106 JOHN ST. JOHN 

Joseph was permitted to address the people for an 
hour and a half. 

At Pawpaw Grove it was learned that Judge Caton 
was not at home, so the company returned to Dixon. 
Obtaining new warrants, they set out for Quincy; but 
on the way, Joseph convinced his attorney that the 
courts at Nauvoo had the necessary authority to try 
him, so the entire party headed for that city. 

And now small companies of men — Joseph's 
friends who had come from Nauvoo — kept joining them. 
Wilson and Reynolds, on hearing that their destination 
was now Nauvoo, became fearful. With such friendly 
forces at his command, Joseph now had the best of his 
kidnappers. "I am not going to Missouri, this time," 
he said. The sheriffs planned without avail to get 
their prisoner away, but as they themselves were 
prisoners also, this was no easy task. They now became 
very uneasy, but the Prophet assured them that they 
would not be harmed. 

Early Friday morning, June 30, 1843, word 
reached Nauvoo that the Prophet and his party would 
arrive in the city about noon. Preparations were im- 
mediately made to give him a royal welcome. At half- 
past ten the brass and the martial bands left the city 
at the head of a procession, to meet the incoming 
company. In this train were Emma, Hyrum, and many 
of the principal citizens. Shortly after eleven o'clock, 
when about a mile and a half from the Temple, the 
two companies met. Joseph rode in a buggy, the officers 
and lawyers in a stage coach. About one hundred 
forty mounted men under Colonel Markham formed a 



JOHN ST. JOHN 107 

guard. These horsemen had decorated their horses' 
bridles with the wild flowers of the prairie. 

Joseph was a prisoner in the hands of Reynolds 
and Wilson; these two officers were in turn prisoners 
in the hands of Sheriff Campbell of Lee County; and 
all these were now in charge of Colonel Markham and 
his horsemen, who saw to it that all concerned were 
safely delivered into the hands of the proper authorities 
at Nauvoo. 

Joseph leaped from his vehicle into the arms of 
his wife and his brother who shed tears of joy at his 
safe return. Tears of gratitude also stood in the eyes 
of the multitude who gathered silently about. Once 
more their prophet had been delivered from the hands 
of his enemies. 

Joseph now mounted his favorite horse, "Old 
Charley," and with Emma at his side, and the band 
playing "Hail Columbia," the united companies moved 
on into the city. The streets were lined with people so 
that at times it was difficult for the procession to pass. 
The people cheered lustily, guns were fired, and cannon 
boomed. On arriving at Joseph's house, his aged 
mother met him at the door. Tears of joy rolled down 
her cheeks as she embraced her son. His children 
clxmg to him. 

The people stood about as if unwilling to disperse. 
Then Joseph mounted a near-by fence, and looking out 
upon the multitude, he said: 

"I am out of the hands of the Missourians again, 
thank God. I thank you for all your kindness and love 
to me. I bless you all in the name of Jesus Christ, 



108 JOHN ST. JOHN 

Amen. I shall address you at the grove near the Temple 
at four o'clock this afternoon." 

The crowd now dispersed. Joseph and about 
fifty of his company were served with dinner. Sheriffs 
Reynolds and Wilson were placed at the head of the 
table, and Emma herself waited on them! 

In due time the Prophet stood trial before the 
proper authorities in Nauvoo, and was acquitted. A 
full report of the case was sent to Governor Ford, to 
inform him what had been done. 






r 



JOHN ST. JOHN 109 



CHAPTER FIFTEEN. 



Nauvoo's golden days followed. The young city 
grew rapidly in beautiful homes, new gardens, and 
larger fields. And the Prophet had a period of rest 
from persecution when he could mingle freely with the 
people and give to them the visions of heaven which 
seemed to be continually before his eyes. 

Mrs. St. John gloried in the new life into which she 
had come. She was eager to be baptized, but John 
asked her to wait a little in hopes that Dora also would 
go with her. Dora was not one of the impulsive kind, 
John explained to his mother. She, no doubt, was 
weighing carefully all the evidences in favor of such a 
step, and in due time she would be convinced. Mean- 
while, they would have to be patient with her. 

The summer days were full of work for them all, 
full of interest, full of beauty. John was very happy. 
Hardly a day passed but some soul-uplifiting 
truth came from the lips of the Prophet or some of the 
other brethren. Whenever his mother and the girls 
were not in attendance at the meeting to hear, John 
brought the news home, and they talked it over about 
the table. On warm evenings, the moon or the stars 
drew them out, and they sat in front of the house. 

On one of these beautiful Sundays in July, after 
the afternoon meeting, they all sat near the rustic 
seat. A soft, cool breeze came up to them from the 
river. A Sabbath quietness brooded over the land and 



110 JOHN ST. JOHN 

all its inhabitants, — all but Jane Fenton. After a space 
of five long minutes, she at last exclaimed: 

"How lovely all this is!" 

John, seemingly, was of the same opinion, for he 
replied: 

"I am glad to agree with you. I am fairly in love 
with the world today." 

"In love with the world?" questioned Jane. 

"Yes; and everything in it — at least, everything 
that the Lord has placed in it." 

There was a pause. Jane knew how to get John 
to talking: she had no intention of having him cease 
now. 

"Well, who else but God had anything to do with 
making the world?" she asked. 

"No one that I know of," he replied; "but the 
devil has tried mighty hard to spoil what the Lord has 
done." 

"Tried? Has he succeeded?" continued the girl. 

"Jane, Jane!" admonished Dora. "Don't ask so 
many foolish questions." 

"Oh, they're not foolish," corrected John. "They 
indicate an inquiring mind; and that is usually a hopeful 
sign." 

John went indoors to get his mother's light shawl 
which he threw over her shoulders. He also brought 
with him a book. 

"Jane wants to know if the evil one has succeeded 
in spoiling the handiwork of God," said John. "Let 
me try to answer her. You may listen." 

Dora looked silently down to the shining river and 
to the dim Iowa side beyond. 



JOHN ST. JOHN 111 

"So far as the evil one has tempted men and women 
to sin and thus brought evil into the world, so far has the 
beauty of God's works been marred; but we must re- 
member that this world of ours is the handiwork of 
God, and as such is essentially good and beautiful; we 
must also bear in mind that the earth is yet in the pro- 
cess of making. The devil is only roiling the water, so 
to speak. This earth 'abideth the law of a celestial 
kingdom, for it filleth the measure of its creation, and 
transgresseth not the law.' " 

"What does that mean? That last part was a 
quotation," declared observant Jane. 

"You're right. It's from one of the revelations — 
one which you must read some day for yourself. Well, 
I understand the meaning to be that the earth is be- 
having itself, and that it is spinning along in the 
'straight and narrow way' — if I may say that of a body 
whose path is nearly round — in the course which its 
Creator marked out for it. It is not transgressing the 
law of its being, and, therefore, it will reach the goal 
of its creation, — celestial glory. 

"I have heard preachers in my day cast all kinds 
of evil repute on our earth and everything on it. If 
they could see, not only the present, but the potential 
beauty and grandeur of our mother earth, they would 
not do this. The earth, they say, is a very evil place, 
and in theory, they want to get away from it as soon 
as possible. As for me, I want to stay here as long as I 
can; and then, when I die, I want to get back to it 
as soon as it is permissible." 

"7 want to go to heaven," suggested Dora. 

"And so do I," said John; "but where is heaven?" 



112 JOHN ST. JOHN 

Jane pointed up into the blue sky, but no one 
answered more definitely. 

''Well/' John went on, "I suppose there are more 
heavens than one. Paul, I believe, writes of the third 
heaven. The Book of Abraham, from which I was 
reading to you the other day, tells us that one of the 
great stars in the firmament is called Kolob, and that it 
is set 'nigh unto the throne of God,' where the Eternal 
Father dwells. That surely is a heaven, but one 
about which we know very little as yet. When we 
attain to that heaven which is designed for us, it will 
be right here on this celestialized earth. Mother, you 
are a scriptural student, what does the Bible say 
about it?" 

"'Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit 
the earth,'" quoted the mother. 

John opened the book which he had brought out. 
None of the others had anything further to say, but 
were in a mood to listen to him, so he went on: "Let 
me read to you a few paragraphs from a revelation 
given to Joseph on this question of the earth and its 
destiny." 

"We're Hstening," said Jane. 

" 'The redemption of the soul is through him who 
quickeneth all things, in whose bosom it is decreed 
that the poor and the meek of the earth shall inherit it. 

" 'Therefore it must needs be sanctified from all 
unrighteousness, that it may be prepared for the 
celestial glory; 

" 'For after it hath filled the measure of its cre- 
ation, it shall be crowned with glory, even with the 
presence of God the Father; 



JOHN ST. JOHN 118 

** That bodies who are of the celestial kingdom 
may possess it forever and ever; for, for this intent 
was it made and created, and for this intent are they 
sanctified. 

" 'And they who are not sanctified through the 
law which I have given unto you, even the law of Christ, 
must inherit another kingdom, even that of a terres- 
trial kingdom, or that of a telestial kingdom. 

" Tor he who is not able to abide the law of a 
celestial kingdom, cannot abide a celestial glory ; 

" 'And he who cannot abide the law of a ter- 
restrial kingdom, cannot abide a terrestrial glory: 

" 'He who cannot abide the law of a telestial king- 
dom, cannot abide a telestial glory; therefore he is not 
meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must 
abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory.' " 

John put his whole soul into the reading, and the 
light which seemed to radiate from his face was surely 
a reflection of that intelligence which is the glory of 
God. The little group sat under the spell of the in- 
spired words, as the reader ceased and became quiet 
with them. Dora's eyes wandered from river to town, 
glancing only in transition at the handsome face beside 
her; but Jane, with unabashed frankness, looked at 
John for some time, then: 

"Tell us about it, John." 

John smiled at her. "I don't think I can make it 
any plainer than the Lord has made it," he said. 

"It's too deep, or high — or something, for me," 
explained Jane. "Tell it to us in plain, every-day 
language." 

"Well, there seems to be grades of attainment in 



114 JOHN ST. JOHN 

the worlds to come as well as there are in this. The 
earth, as we have learned, 'abideth the law.' When it 
shall have completed the course the Lord designed for 
it, it will become celestialized. Just what that means, 
we, of course, cannot say; but it must be a very high 
degree of development. 'Crowned with glory' is one 
descriptive term. Now, it is reasonable to conclude 
that all those persons who have also abided the law, 
who have been celestialized and crowned with glory 
will find this earth exactly fitted to their needs and con- 
ditions. All who are not able to live up to the high 
requirements of celestial glory, must go to a lower 
condition or kingdom, called the terrestrial; and those 
who are not able to abide the terrestrial law will find 
their level in the telestial world. And some, it seems, 
not being able or willing to live even the telestial law, 
must be content with a kingdom without any glory 
at all. You remember, Dora, the other evening we 
read from the revelation called *The Vision' more about 
these degrees of glory." 

Dora nodded assent, but Jane spoke again: 

"I suppose, John, that you'll want to go to the 
highest kingdom." 

*'Well, Jane, I am a candidate; but I may not be 
able to 'abide the law.' " 

"I want to go there, also. Tell me— tell us all — 
the way." 

"Yes; we all want to be together. I fear it would 
not be a perfect heaven if we had to leave behind any of 

our loved ones And how shall we get there? 

Let me read again, this time from The Vision' wherein 
the Prophet saw those who had inherited the celestial 



JOHN ST. JOHN 115 

world. Speaking of these, he says: They are they who 
received the testimony of Jesus, and beheved on his 
name, and were baptized after the manner of his burial, 
being buried in the water in his name, and this accord- 
ing to the commandment which he has given. 

" That by keeping his commandments they might 
be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive 
the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him 
who is ordained and sealed unto this power. 

" *Who overcometh by faith, and are sealed by the 
Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth 
upon all those who are just and true.' " 

"There are other requirements," commented John; 
"but these are some of the essentials which lie at the 
foundation or the beginning of the upward cHmb." 

"What does 'buried in water' mean?" asked Jane. 

"It means to be baptized in the right way and by 
the proper person. We were sprinkled as infants, but 
you, as a Book of Mormon reader, know what the Lord 
says about that." 

John's words seemed, for the most part, to be 
directed to Jane; but he hoped that they would also 
find lodgment with Dora. The afternoon darkened to 
evening. Through the still air came the lowing of 
cattle, and now and then the voice of some one singing 
the songs of Zion. There being no large meeting rooms 
in Nauvoo which could be lighted, evening services 
were not usually held. Thus the Sabbath evenings 
were profitably spent at home. 

"I think I'll go in now," said Mrs. St. John. 

"I'll go with you," added Jane. 

Arm in arm, these two went into the house. When 



116 JOHN ST. JOHN 

the lamps were lighted and they saw that John and 
Dora were not coming in just then, they were in no 
hurry to set the table for the cold lunch which they ate 
on Sunday evenings. Jane drew Mrs. St. John to a 
seat by the window. 

"Fm going to write mama/' said the girl, "and 
ask her if I may be baptized when you are. May I?" 

"Why, yes, my dear, if that's the way you feel." 

"You have been waiting for Dora, I know. But 
wait for me, too. I want to go with you. I — I am 
ready." 

The mother drew the girl close and kissed her. 
They clung to each other in silence. Both their eyes 
were wet with tears, though they were not so dim but 
that, when they looked out of the open window, they 
could see that John and Dora had retreated to the 
rustic seat where the ivy was climbing protectingly 
up the trellis. 






JOHN ST. JOHN 117 



CHAPTER SIXTEEN. 



Mrs. St. John and Jane had gone to the Frelands 
for the afternoon, leaving John and Dora to keep 
house. Supper time was approaching and Dora was 
setting the table. John was pretending to read, but 
what printed page could equal in interest the person- 
ality of such a girl as Dora Fenton! There was a winning 
charm in her every movement, as she arranged to a 
nicety the plates and the cups and polished once more 
the glasses. The setting sun poured its red light 
through the west window into the room, and Dora 
walked about at her work in its warm glow. 

"I fear the water is not fresh," she said, as she 
went to the pail to fill her pitcher. She smiled archly 
at John. 

"I'm glad," he declared. 

"Glad? Why?" 

"Because I want to do something. I want to help 
you." He brought a pail of cool water from the well, 
and filled the pitcher. 

"I think everything is ready," she announced. 

They sat on opposite sides of the table and ate 
their supper. Indeed, they looked very much like a 
young married couple in the cosiness of their home. 
Dora appeared to be content with the pleasantness of 
the moment; John's happiness was dulled by the knowl- 
edge that the girl before him had so far refused to give 
him any definite promise. Dora chatted freely, and 
John was content to listen, and to think He was 



118 JOHN ST. JOHN 

glad she had not been in Missouri. Could she have 

stood those soul-trying times? But were they now 

free from mobs? Perhaps not. John knew very well 
that the Prophet had looked far out westward into the 
Rocky mountains for a place of refuge for his people; 
but what would be the cause of their removal, and who 
of them would go? Was that vision of loveliness before 

him fit for tragic scenes? The twilight deepened 

as the meal ended. 

"Shall I light the lamp?'' asked Dora. 

"No; and leave the table as it is. Let's go outside 
and see the coming of the stars." 

The girl made no objections. They took chairs 
with them. The sky was clear. The evening star shone 
above the darkening western horizon. 

"When will Jane and your mother be home?" 
asked Dora. 

"Depend upon it, Sister Freland will keep them as 
long as possible; and then, you know, there is that 
wonderful new grandson to be inspected and pronounced 
good." 

A neighbor going by, paused at the gate with a 
greeting, and then passed on, for which John was 
grateful. Opportunities to be alone with Dora were 
not many; speech was easy between them that evening, 
and John hoped they would not be disturbed for some 
time. 

"A penny for your thoughts," said John as he saw 
his companion with a far-away look in her face. 

"I was thinking of Jane." 

"Yes; what about her?" 

"I suppose she's more religious than I. Ever since 



JOHN ST. JOHN 119 

that talk of yours the other day about the earth and the 
degrees of glory, she has been reading your books, and, 
as usual, she has put two and two together." 

"Yes?" 

"This is what she asked me the other day: If this 
earth in its perfected state is to be inhabited by 
celestial beings only, what is to become of those who 
attain merely a terrestrial or a telestial glory? Where 
will they live?" The girl looked at her companion 
as if she had "cornered the preacher." 

"Children's questions are not so foolish as they 
sometimes appear to be, for frequently they give 
utterance to that which comes naturally into their 
hearts, uncontaminated with the teachings of the world. 
Jane's question may not be answerable, but it is not 
foolish. I have an idea — mind you, only a theory of 
my own — regarding it. Would you like to hear it?" 

"Surely." 

"ril have to begin at some distant point and lead 
up to it." He looked up into the sky where many of 
the brighter stars were now plainly seen. "Have you 
ever studied astronomy?" he asked. 

"Very little." 

"Well, I know merely the rudiments of the science, 
but it is a wonderfully fascinating study. I have heard 
Orson Pratt lecture on the stars, but he became so 
mathematical that I could not follow him." 

"Tell me about them, if you can, without being 
scientific." Evidently, Dora had already forgotten her 
original question. Both were now looking up into the 
sky. 

"The thousands of stars which we can see on a 



120 JOHN ST. JOHN 

clear night," began John, "are a long, long way off. 
They appear to us to always occupy the same po- 
sition in the sky, therefore they are called fixed stars. 
Among these many fixed stars, there are, as far as we 
have discovered, six exceptions. Six of the stars 
move, for we see them in different positions in the 
heavens. For example, that beautiful clear star just 
about to set behind the western horizon is, doubtless, 
the planet Venus. Sometimes Venus can be seen early 
in the morning, and is then our morning star. These 
six stars are not all seen in our heaven at the same time; 
some are in the hemisphere on the opposite side of the 
earth, and some are in our heaven in the day time, and 
therefore, cannot be seen by us. These seven stars are 
the planets which revolve around the sun, and con- 
stitute what we call the solar system." 

"Are there seven? You said six," corrected Dora. 

"At first I was speaking of the planets we can see 
in the sky. The seventh is our earth, which is one of 
them." 

"Is our earth a star?" 

"Our earth is one of the seven planets which revolve 
about the sun. To an observer on one of the other six, 
the earth would be seen as a star. Now, these seven 
planets are comparatively close together. They, with 
the great central body — the sun — form a group . We are 
more especially interested in this group because it is 
our own family, so to speak, and we know more about 
it. Let me tell you a little about each of the planets 
of this solar system. 

"The planet nearest the center of this group is 
called Mercury, which is about thirty-six millions of 



JOHN ST. JOHN 121 

miles from the sun, around which it revolves in eighty- 
eight of our days. It is smaller than the earth. Next 
comes Venus, our present evening star. It is nearly the 
same size as the earth, and its year is two hundred 
twenty-five of our days. Through a telescope we can 
see its disk, and that it has phases like our moon. Our 
own earth comes next in order, being about ninety-three 
million miles from the sun. As this is a lesson in as- 
tronomy and not geography, Fll not say any more 
about the earth." 

"You told us something about the earth the other 
day." 

"So I did. Mars comes next in the circle. Mars 
shines with a reddish color. It is one of our nearest 
neighbors. At certain times in its course. Mars gets 
so near the earth that we can study its surface more 
closely and see that it is something like our own planet." 

"With people on it?" 

"That we do not know, though there's no known 
reason why there shouldn't be. The next planet is 
Jupiter, the giant member of the sun's family. It is 
bigger than all the other planets put together. It is 
five times as far from the sun as the earth, and it re- 
quires twelve of our years to make its yearly revolution 
about the sun. Saturn, the next planet, is a little 
smaller than Jupiter. It has some strange rings about 
it, and its year is twenty-nine times as long as ours. 
Then, as far as we now know, the outermost planet is 
Uranus.* It is nineteen times as far out from the sun 
as we are, and it takes eighty-four of our years to make 
its journey around the sun." 

*Neptune was not discovered until 1846, 



122 JOHN ST. JOHN 

"What long seasons there must be on Uranus," 
suggested Dora, — "just one of each in a lifetime." 

"Of course, we know very little about conditions 
on these planets. Very likely, most of them are un- 
inhabited, being yet in the early stages of creation. — 
Oh, I nearly forgot the Asteroids. They are very 
interesting." 

"What are they?" 

"In the orbit between Mars and Jupiter (by orbit 
we mean path around the sun) there have been dis- 
covered a number of small bodies called Asteroids. 
Four have already been found, with the likelihood that 
there are many more. Think of it, some of these little 
spheres are no more than twenty miles in diameter — 
regular little doll worlds! How would you like one 
of them for a plaything?" 

"They would be cute, wouldn't they?" 

"Jupiter doesn't appeal to me as these Asteroids 
do. Just imagine one of these little worlds given to 
you, — say a round globe two or three hundred miles 
in circumference, perfect in hills, meadows, forests, 
lakes and rivers, with blue skies and floating clouds! 
I would like it just as it came, newly made from Na- 
ture's hand, without the grass being cut, or flowers 
cultivated, or trees trimmed in any way. I wouldn't 
want roads, or fences, or houses, for it would be my 
work and my pleasure to subdue it and cultivate it 
myself." 

"All by yourself? Are you not selflsh?" 
"Selfish? Oh, I hope not. I would want you to be 
with me, Dora. I was thinking of this as merely the 
beginning of our kingdom of glory. I suppose this 



JOHN ST. JOHN 123 

world idea is only an elaboration of my boyhood 
Robinson Crusoe fantasy; but to be alone, — Oh, no." 

Dora was silent, but she was not displeased. After 
a time, she asked: "What about the moon?" 

John laughed. "The moon — Oh, yes — we have 
nearly forgotten the moon, which is a somewhat smaller 
body revolving about the earth. Most of the planets 
have one or more moons. Seven have been discovered 
as belonging to Saturn." 

"There must be a lot of moonlight there." 

"Well, you see, Saturn is so far away from the sun 
that she might need more light reflectors." 

There was a pause in their talk, during which 
their eyes followed the lights of a steamer which was 
slowly pushing up the river. When it had disappeared 
behind the trees on the island, John resumed: 

"Now, Dora, I am ready to answer your question." 

"What question?" 

"Why, Jane's and yours." 

"Oh, yes, I had forgotten. All right." 

"I have been telling you about these various 
planets which belong to our immediate family. The 
earth is one of them. The Lord has told us that the 
earth 'abideth the law of a celestial glory,' and at some 
time will be the abode of celestial beings. Now, isn't 
it possible that some of these other planets are destined 
for the terrestrial and the telestial glories, and that 
they also are filling the 'measure of their creation' to 
become fit habitations for those who will receive these 
glories? Undoubtedly, there will be vastly more of 
those who will attain to the lesser glories than those 



124 JOHN ST. JOHN 

who will reach the highest. Jupiter would be able to 
provide for a lot of these!" 

Dora looked her astonishment. "What a dreamer 
you are, John!" she said. 

"Mind you, Vm not teaching this as doctrine. It's 
only a bit of my own fertile fancy." 

"Mormonism seems to have quickened that fancy 
considerably." 

"It has. There are more wonders in heaven and 
on the earth than men have ever dreamed of in their 
philosophy; and Mormonism has unbarred the way to 
many of these wonders. In fact, Dora, I am beginning 
to believe that the most beautiful dream of which I am 
capable, may some day be far surpassed by the reality! 
Did you read those writings of Abraham, translated 
by Joseph and printed in the Times and SeasonsT' 

"Yes, I did some reading, but I remember dis- 
tinctly that I understood but little of it." 

"Then Fll tell you about these things, for they 
fit in very appropriately this evening with our as- 
tronomical studies. Something was revealed to Abra- 
ham which our astronomers have not as yet demonstrat- 
ed. Now, you will have to go with me on a journey far 
out into space, away from this little solar system of 
ours to other solar systems." 

"Other solar systems?" 

"Yes. All these stars, with the exception of our 
seven planets, are also suns, and undoubtedly, have 
planets revolving about them. Abraham was shown 
the 'set times of the greater light' — meaning the sun. 
He was also shown the 'set times of all the stars.' This 
would seem to indicate that the stars also move about 



JOHN ST. JOHN 125 

some central point: that is, the sun, with all its attend- 
ant planets, and the stars with their planets, all move 
about some great central world." 

"John, John!" exclaimed Dora, "stop a moment." 

"What is it?" 

"I can't follow you. Fm lost in this maze of 
worlds." 

John reached for his companion's hand and held 
it firmly. "Now, you stay close to me," he advised 
smilingly, "and we two shall travel together to the 
utmost bounds of time and space. Do not be afraid." 

"The universe is so immense!" 

"Yes; but it is God's universe, remember that 

And the 'light of Christ proceedeth forth from the 
presence of God to fill the immensity of space!' By that 
light we may go without fear to any part of God's 

domain Now, the Lord told Abraham the very 

name of the star which governs all those which belong 
to our order of worlds, which name is Kolob. Kolob 
is the greatest of all the stars shown to Abraham, 
'because it is nearest unto the throne of God.' A day 
on Kolob is as a thousand years with us, and this is the 
Lord's time of reckoning. 

"Then Abraham was told that there were other 
great stars which were also governing ones — that is, 
about which other stars revolve. Then, Dora, — hold 
tight— I surmise that all these systems also revolve 
about a common center." 

The girl was silent. 

"Now let me repeat, just to get the thought clear 
in my own mind," said John, as he looked steadily out 
into the blue heavens. — Dora was listening to what 



126 JOHN ST. JOHN 

seemed a carriage up the road. — "The moon revolves 
about the earth; earth with its moon revolves about the 
sun; the sun and the other sun-stars, together with 
their accompanying planets and moons, revolve about 
Kolob; Kolob, then, is the center of a great system; 
there are other systems like that which Kolob governs; 
and all these great systems revolve about another com- 
mon center; and — 

"John, somebody has driven into the yard." 

The folks had come home. They alighted from 
the carriage and entered the house. As John lighted 
the lamp, Jane caught sight of the neglected supper 
table. 

"Mother St. John," she exclaimed, "look at that 
table!" 

Mother looked, but did not scold. Mother knew: 
who could see an unkept table when the light of stars 
was in their eyes! 



0^ 

^0 



JOHN ST. JOHN 127 



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN. 

Colder winds and rains heralded the coming of 
autumn, and yet Mrs. St. John was not formally a 
member of the Church. John had pleaded with her 
time and again to wait a little longer in hopes that 
Dora would accompany her to the waters of baptism, 
until at last he was ashamed to ask for further delay, 
and the mother went without the company of the 
young woman. 

John had been very patient with Dora. It is not 
given to all to grasp the truth readily, he reasoned. 
Some must be carefully and patiently taught. He 
must give her more time. She would come, for how 
could such a good, sweet girl harden her heart against 
the truth? And did they not love each other? Love, 
surely, would melt away any barrier between them. 
^ Nevertheless, John was keenly disappointed when 
Dora was not baptized at the time his mother was. 
The joy of having his mother with him in the faith 
was overshadowed by Dora's procrastination. On the 
evening of the baptism, there was a little extra on the 
table by way of celebration, but John's heart ached 
when he observed that Dora, apparently, had no re- 
grets. She was as carefree and as cheerful as ever. 
Evidently, she had not been "pricked in the heart," 
and thus awakened to repentance and the need of a 
remission of sins. 
^■"^ The very next day John attended a meeting with 
the brethren where he learned clearly and definitely the 



128 JOHN ST. JOHN 

doctrine of celestial marriage. He had heard rumors 
and second-hand accounts of the revelation containing 
this doctrine, but the matter had not been plain 'to 
him. In fact, as expounded by gossiping neighbors, 
the new teachings were not very clear. That 
evening, however, John St. John sat under the spell of 
the Patriarch's voice and heard the revelation read in 
full. John had noted the part which dealt with the 
plurality of wives, but, somehow, that had not im- 
pressed him deeply. That which shone with a beauti- 
ful new light was the doctrine of the eternity of the 
marriage covenant. Gospel truths had usually come 
to him slowly, opening to his understanding as a flower 
opens to the sun; but this truth came to him as a great 
flood of light, and his whole soul bathed in its effulgent 
rays. 

It was late that evening when John walked home- 
ward in a state of rapture. The house was dark, its 
inmates being asleep. How could he wait until morning 
to impart that which he had received? But he went 
to bed and lay a long time awake, indulging in dreams 
far surpassing those which come in sleep. 

John overslept next morning, much to his annoy- 
ance, and had to rush off without saying much to the 
folks. When he came home for dinner, Dora was not 
in good humor. She showed him a letter from her 
mother. 

"Any bad news?" he asked. 

"Yes," replied Jane before Dora could answer. 

"She scolds us for staying away so long," ex- 
plained the elder sister. "She wants us to come home." 

"Fm sorry — " was the extent of John's comment. 



JOHN ST. JOHN 129 

'*I suppose mama is lonesome/* said Dora, "and 
we ought to go home." 

"She might come to us," suggested Jane. "I like 
it better here." 

But the sister would not discuss that possibility; 
she seemed to favor their going home. John was silent 
and soon went back to his work. 

But that evening John could keep still no longer. 
After supper, he asked Dora to walk out with him. 
The evening was clear and cold, so wraps were needed. 
Their steps led toward the river. If the cold weather 
continued, the river would freeze, navigation would 
cease for the winter, and Dora would not be able to 
go home. 

"Where are we going?" she asked. 

"Just for a walk. I want to be out in this bracing 
air." 

"What is the matter, John?" 

"Nothing — and yet so much! 0, Dora, can't you 
see, don't you know?" 

"Know what?" 

They paused in their walk as John took her hands 
firmly in his. 

"I want you, Dora — I want you for my wife. 
You've known that for a long time. Stay here with 

me I fear you are going to leave me, and I 

want you more than ever nowl" 

"Now?" 

"Yes; last evening I heard something wonderful, 
Dora, something which affects me and you. That 
which prophets have but seen, and poets merely sung 
about has become a fact to us here and now!" 



130 JOHN St. JOHN 

"You are always finding wonders." 

"Yes." — He was yet blind to her hidden meaning. 
"I've heard the revelation on celestial marriage." 

"Celestial marriage! What's that?" 

John told her; but he felt that his words were halt- 
ing and his expression poor; his vision suffered very 
much in the telling. Dora listened silently, patiently, 
and after he had talked himself out, she said: 

"But, John — all this does not apply to me. I do 
not belong to your church, and all these wondrous 
promises are for its members only." 

John was silenced. He had not even kindled an 
interest in this girl, and he had thought to have set her 
heart aflame! She was cold — cold spiritually and bodily, 
so he took her home, and without many words, bade 
her goodnight. 

John, however, went out again; and for an hour or 
more he walked, brooding, thinking, trying to get rid 
of a great fear in his heart. The promises of the Vision 
with the degrees of glory came again to him. The 
terrestrial world was composed of those who receive 
not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards 
received it. Then it would be too late for his purpose. 
Dora, certainly, was not "valiant in the testimony of 

Jesus" Ever since he had received a 

knowledge of what the future held out to God's faithful 
children, he had set his heart on attaining to the con- 
dition where he might "dwell in the presence of God and 
his Christ for ever and ever," and that he might be 
"heir to all things, whether life or death, or things 
present, or things to come." These aspirations shone 
in his heart as the Holy Spirit of promise. And always 



JOHN ST. JOHN 13i 

in his visioning Dora had been by his side. What 
would celestial glory be without her? for had she not 
grown to be a part of his very being? But Dora, 
that very evening, in a matter-of-fact way, had called 
his attention to the difference between them, and she 
had said it as if she either did not care, or that 
she did not understand. . . . "For what doth it profit 
a man if a gift is bestowed upon him and he receiveth 
not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is 
given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the 

giver of the gift." Was it possible that Dora was 

one of these unappreciative ones? So far, he had failed 
to see in her any "rejoicing" over the "gifts" which he 

had brought her Would the time come when he 

would have to make a choice between his vision with- 
out Dora, and Dora without his vision? Would he 
have to make such a choice? "If so, God help me," 
prayed John St. John. 

John arose early next morning. The Lord had sent 
him sleep, the restorer and comforter to help him and 
give him new hope. Dora was very kind to him that 
day, as indeed, also the days which followed. 

The winter months passed somewhat unevent- 
fully. Mrs. Fenton's letters came regularly. Some- 
times they were "very nice," and at other times they 
displayed a spirit of fearfulness as to her daughters' 
safety among a people of whom she had heard so much 
that was not good. Early in the year 1844, it was 
evident that Mrs. Fenton was aroused to an apparent 
danger. Mrs. St. John added her letter to those of the 
girls to try to allay the mother's fears, but it seemed 
to no purpose. All this annoyed Dora and worried 



132 JOHN ST. JOHN 

John. At last, Dora wrote her mother that she would 
come home as soon as the river traffic opened. She 
kept this letter a number of days before she took it to 
the post office, but eventually she posted it without 
saying anything to John. A few days after, realizing 
that she had not been quite fair, she told him. 

"Do you mean, Dora, that you are going to leave 
me — that you are not going to stay here?'' 

"I must go home to mother. She is so worried." 

"But you'll come back?" 

"I— I can't tell." 

"0, Dora!" 

They were walking from the store where she had 
been to make some purchases, and as it was about 
closing time, he was going home with her and carrying 
her packages. The darkening evening was wet. The 
snow had gone from the sidewalks, but there was mud 
in places over which they had to pass with care .... 
John realized that, do what he could, she was drifting 
away from him. He had some news which he was also 
keeping from her; he had been fearful of the conse- 
quences. But now he might as well out with it. There 
would be nothing more to lose, and perchance, there 
would be something to gain by speaking. 

"Dora," he began, "I do not question your right 
to go to your mother. Under present conditions, per- 
haps, that is the best thing to do, for it seems now that 
I also shall leave Nauvoo." 

"To go with me, John?" 

"Oh, no, my dear. My journey is in quite the 
opposite direction. You may have heard of a pros- 
pective move westward. Well, the Prophet, seeing, no 



JOHN ST. JOHN 133 

doubt, that the old troubles may come upon us again, 
has determined to send a body of men to investigate 
locations in California and Oregon, where, after the 
Temple is completed, we can move, and, as he said, 
*Where we can build a city in a day, and have a govern- 
ment of our own, get up in the mountains, where the 
devil cannot dig us out/ The party is to be well pro- 
vided and armed. 'I want every man that goes to be 
a king and a priest,' said Joseph, 'when he gets on the 
mountains, he may want to talk with his God.' " 

"What odd expressions the Prophet makes!" com- 
mented Dora. "He is not at all like other preachers." 

"No, thank God, he isn't," said John with un- 
usual vehemence. 

"Have you been called to go?" 

"Oh, no; volunteers only are wanted; but I have 
partly promised to be one of the party." 

"But it's nothing but deserts and impassable 
mountains out there, I have heard." 

"Then the better would we be protected from 
mobs." 

"And Indians — " 

"Indians can do no v/orse than what I have seen 
done by so-called civilized men." 

She clung to his arm as if there were real danger of 
losing him. John was glad he had told her. 

"If you are going to leave," he went on, "I also 
might as well. We might as well be two thousand 

miles apart as one thousand but I don't know 

about mother." 

"She can come home with us," said the girl as if 
the thdught was a ha,ppy one. "She mustn't stay hfere 



134 JOHN ST. JOHN 

alone, especially as you say there is likely to be more 
trouble." 

Before he could reply, they were at the door. Jane 
held out a letter for her sister. "It's mother's hand- 
writing," she declared, "but look at the postmark!" 

"St. Louis," said Dora. She hastily opened the 
envelope and read the letter. 

"Well?" questioned Jane impatiently. 

"Mother is in St. Louis," announced Dora, "and 
she's coming to Nauvoo on the first steamer!" 






JOHN ST. JOHN 135 



CHAPTER EIGHTEEN. 

During the first days in March, the boats began to 
come up the river from St. Louis. John met them each 
day. A few days after Mrs. Fenton's letter, she her- 
self arrived. 

There were joyous greetings all around. Mrs. 
Fenton was tired and glad to end the longest journey 
she had ever taken. Jane relieved her of her bonnet, 
Dora of her wraps, and then she sank into the easy 
chair which John placed for her. 

"Gracious,'* mildly exclaimed Mrs. Fenton, "had 
I known this place is so far away from home, I never 
would have undertaken the trip." 

"But we are so glad you came," said Dora, to 
which Mrs. St. John agreed. 

"Well, at any rate I am glad to be here safe and 
sound." 

"Have you had any trouble on the way?" asked 
John. 

"Not exactly trouble — but the talk Fve heard!" 

"What have you heard, mother?" 

"On the boat from St. Louis — I was scared nearly 
to death. There were some men on board — they said 
they knew what they were talking about. One was a 
preacher, and others, from what I could learn, were 
Mormons living here in Nauvoo." 

"Well, what did they say?" 

"It makes me shiver to repeat it. They said — 
that Joseph Smith had men's heads cut off in Missouri, 



136 JOHN ST. JOHN 

and those whom he wanted put out of the way were 
stabbed to the heart! They said that the Mormons 
were thieves and robbers — and everything wicked. I 
wondered what I was coming to!" 

"Were you frightened, mama?" laughed Jane. 

"Well, I didn't know what to think." 

"Does Nauvoo impress you as being a robbers' 
den?" asked John. 

"No; everything here looks peaceable enough. I 
don't understand it. What do mobs want to come here 
for?" 

"Mobs?" questioned Dora. 

"Yes; the men on the boat said that it would be a 
matter of only a short time when the citizens of the 
county would drive the Mormons from the state. In 
fact, they claimed that they were organizing now for 
that purpose." 

Mrs. Fenton was assured that there was no im- 
mediate danger of such lawlessness. There had always 
been some agitation against the Church, but as for 
mobs, the Nauvoo Legion was strong enough to protect 
the city from any such attacks. 

During the next few days, Mrs. Fenton looked 
about the city, scanning the town carefully with her 
business eye. 

"What do you raise here?" she asked. 

"Anything that you can raise at home," explained 
John. 

"Strawberries?" 

"Yes; but we have had to plant corn and grain 
first. We have all kinds of fruit, and I am told thiat the 
location here is good for grapfes." 



JOHN ST. JOHN 137 

"You certainly have a big, fine place here; but what 
assurance have you that you will be permitted to re- 
main and develop the country?'' 

The two girls joined them at this point, and John 
hesitated in telling Mrs. Fenton the exact truth re- 
garding her last question. However, it must be an- 
swered, and answered right. 

"We have no such assurance," he said. "In fact, 
it is probable that we shall move again soon." 

"And where this time?" 

"Westward into the Rocky mountains." 

"My! but your mother can't make such a jour- 
ney, and my daughter shall not, if I can help it." 

John did not reply, and so Mrs. Fenton went on: 
"I see more trouble ahead for you, John. Why not all 
of us go back to Belford? Why can you not live your 
religion there as well as here? Why these prophets? 
Why this new church? Why this gathering? Why so 
much that people talk about and people hate you for?" 

Dora was fearful that John and her mother would 
get into an unpleasant discussion on religious themes; 
but her forebodings were groundless. John very quietly 
and carefully tried to answer the flow of questions. 

"As to gathering," said he, "it is natural that like 
attracts like. People whose religious beliefs are the 
same can better put that belief into practice if they 
come together in organized bodies. Naturally, the 
race is social. Living alone is not conducive to the 
best growth. I have an idea that the Lord's early 
declaration that 'it is not good for the man to be alone' 
has a v/ide signification. We ought not to live so far 
apiart that we have no one to bump against." 



138 JOHN ST. JOHN 

"Bump against?" reiterated Mrs. Fenton — "and 
to be hurt?" 

"Yes, perchance — and to put up with, to pity, to 
sympathize with, to sacrifice for, and to love." John's 
eyes fell on Dora as he said this. "But one of the chief 
purposes of our gathering is that we might build a 
temple." 

Mrs. Fenton did not care to talk about temples. 
She was a practical woman whose practicability did not 
reach very far into the spiritual world. The greater 
part of her religion consisted of church-going; and 
taking part in benefit socials, entertaining the min- 
ister, and donating to the foreign mission fund, were 
the chief auxiliaries. John knew this. He understood 
her view-point and the little that religion meant to her 
and to those of her kind. And the young man, when 
the occasion was opportune, tried to impart to her his 
own broadened views. 

Religion," he said, "is not something that can be 
added to or taken from one's natural life. Religion — 
true religion, of course, — is life, life from the beginning 
of time to the end, if such limitations can be conceived. 
The faith which is given to the true believer is the 
moving force of all action. That faith, therefore, 
directs the individual to come or to go or to remain; 
for in it, as in the Divine Life, we *live and move and 
have our being.' "We — " unconsciously, he made his 
talk personal — "gather together, we move from one 
state to another, we build, we plant and reap, we go on 
missions, we marry and rear families — yes, we are bom 
and we die — and it is all a part of our religion." 

Mrs. Fenton pushed her glasses to her forehead 






JOHN ST. JOHN 139 

that her view of John might be clearer. She admired 
his fine face, finer than ever, she thought, when he 

L"got to preaching." 
— Shortly after Mrs. Fenton's arrival, a large public 
meeting was held within the Temple walls. This was 
her first opportunity to see and hear the Prophet. The 
first meeting began at nine in the morning. The 
Prophet was not present at the opening, but came in 
later. Hyrum was on the stand, as were Brigham 
Young and several others of the Twelve. 

HjTum spoke first on the need of everyone assist- 
ing to build the Temple. The sisters, he said, were 
going to raise means by the aid of a penny fund to buy 
the nails and the glass; he expected the brethren to do 
the rest. Presently, Joseph came in to the meeting, 
and soon took the stand. He did not begin his remarks 
with a firstly, and then develop a sermon by logical 
steps. He flung out thoughts, admonitions, comments, 
as they seemed to come to him with little sequence. 
Instead of preaching from a scriptural text, the Prophet 
spoke of the questionable actions of some lawyers in 
the city. "We have a gang of simple fellows here," 
he declared, ''who do not know where their elbows 

or heads are I fear not their boiling over, nor 

the boiling over of hell." The speaker referred to a 
disgraceful article about the Latter-day Saints in the 
New York Tribune, and reproved the writer, who, pre- 
sumably, was a local person. At this point a man arose 
in the congregation and asked if the speaker had re- 
ferred to him. 

"No," said Joseph, "I do not know you." 
Hyrum then spoke again, but his remarks were in- 



140 JOHN ST. JOHN 

terrupted by a dialogue between a man in the audience 
and Joseph. It appears that the Prophet's remarks 
about pettifogging lawyers had angered the man. 

The meeting closed at twelve, and at two o'clock 
the people assembled again. Mrs. Fen ton said she 
wanted "to see it out," so she was there. The first 
speaker was Brigham Young. Mrs. Fenton approved 
his remarks as being ''full of common sense." He was 
followed by John Taylor who explained that certain 
articles were badly needed to carry on the work on the 
Temple. A man was waiting to take a steamer to St. 
Louis to buj^ these articles, but he had no money. A 
collection would have to be taken up. Elder Taylor 
ceased his preaching while this was done, then he went 
on with his talk. 

Mrs. Fenton went home that afternoon in a con- 
fused state of mind. She felt as if she had not 
attended a religious meeting. That evening she gave 
John her views. 

"I do not want to criticise," she said, "but your 
services appeared to me to be largely devoted to 
temporalities." 

"Yes, that is true," admitted John; "and I am sorry 
that you did not hear a good doctrinal sermon at this 
your first meeting. Today's services were devoted 
largely to the matter of completing the Temple. It is 
important that the Temple be built. The Temple — 
that is, the walls, the floor, the roof, etc., are material 
things, but the use to which the building will be put is 
wholly spiritual. You see, the spiritual and the tem- 
poral are very closely connected. Our bodies are tem- 
poral, and we must care for them; but they are merely 



JOHN ST. JOHN 141 

tabernacles for the spirit. We cannot neglect the one 
without the other being affected." 

"But at times Joseph Smith's language was a 
little rough," demurred Mrs. Fenton. 

**Yes; he himself admits that he is an unpolished 
stone. He sometimes says things in a blunt way, but 
by so doing he arouses attention. I'll grant the manner 
of saying a thing is important, but the more vital issue 
is whether the thing said is true or not. Did you notice 
that those whose consciences were clear were not dis- 
turbed by the brethren's criticisms. I fear the cap fit 
Brother Foster; he seemed eager to put it on." 

"Anyway, I'm disappointed in the Prophet." 

"In what way?" 

"He doesn't look like a prophet." 

"Have you ever seen a prophet before?" 

"Well— no." 

"Then how can you tell what a prophet should 
look like?" 

Mrs. Fenton did not say. 

"The trouble is this," reasoned John. "We have 
been without prophets for a long time, having been in 
touch with them through the printed page only. 
Trophets were men of God who lived two thousand 
years ago' might well be a modern definition. As dis- 
tance lends enchantment, a sort of halo has formed 
about these historic men, and we have conceived them 
to be different from other men, and, of course, very, 
very holy. Then again, the paintings of the masters 
have frequently augmented this wrong impression of 
prophets and apostles." 



142 JOHN ST. JOHN 

Jane nodded at this point as if she wholly under- 
stood and agreed. 

"And now, Mrs. Fenton, I take you to see a 
prophet — a real, live one; and what do you find? An 
individual bearing the common name of Smith. He 
is a fine, clean-looking, red-blooded young man, with 
no long beard or pious look. He dresses like the rest of 
us. There is nothing about him suggestive of a mil- 
dewy past, but he lives very much in the present, 
reflecting in his blue eyes the smiling sunlight of the 
sky above him here and now. All this does not tally 
with what you have conceived a prophet should be, 
and so you are disappointed. 

"Had we lived in the days of the ancient prophets, 
we would have seen that they were men like unto those 
about them. Even of Jesus, it was said by his own 
people: *Is not this the carpenter's son?' His beauty 
was not so apparent that men desired Him, but He was 
despised and rejected and numbered with the trans- 
gressors; and yet, think of what the Savior of mankind 
really was! Perhaps we would have been like the large 
majority — blinded to the greatness of that which was 
with us, with our eyes holden so that we could not see, 
but I hope not. I do not want to be numbered with 
those who garnish the tombs of the dead prophets, but 
kill the live ones of our own day.'' 

"I don't want to either, John." 

"Of course not, Mrs. Fenton. Now, here is the 
thought I want to make clear, if I can: For myself, I 
want to appreciate to the fullest, the significance of 
the present. I am trying to glorify the present because 
in it I live — through the here and the now solely do I 



JOHN ST. JOHN 143 

come in contact with life. I am traveling through 
eternity. Only by one small point, like a moving needle 
on a disk, do I touch life, and that point is the now, 

"A hundred years from now, Joseph Smith will 
be considered a great man. That being true, he is great 
now, and I want to realize it. Til be dead in a hundred 
years. My children or my children's children will say 
'If we had only lived in the days of the Prophet Joseph 
Smith' — perhaps overlooking the fact that they in 
their own time also have a prophet. Well, I live in the 
days of this first latter-day prophet. He is my prophet, 
and the only one who concerns me very much. All 
others I can merely read about; this one I can go to, I 
can see his face, grip his hand, hear his voice, and re- 
ceive his counsel." 

Mrs. Fenton listened attentively. She did not 
fully grasp what he was saying, but she had a feeling 
that it was true. 

"As I have remarked before, Joseph Smith is not so 
smooth in words and action as the modern preacher. 
His school has been that of rough knocks, though the 
Lord has been his teacher. Joseph is like the granite 
with the glint of gold shining through. Most preachers 
whom I have known have a flow of rhetoric at hand to 
veil a confusion of mind; Joseph's expressions may be 
faulty, but they convey to us, clear-cut and compre- 
hendable, God's eternal truths. Religious teachers of 
the day are often like still pools, asleep in the shade; 
Joseph is like the ocean — elemental, big, everlasting, 
powerful, moving, rough at times, but also smooth and 
sunny and peaceful like the whisperings of the Spirit 
of God." 



144 JOHN ST. JOHN 

Dora who had been out, now came in, leaving the 
door open as she stood Hstening to John's closing words. 
A warm breeze with a hint of spring in it reached Mrs. 
Fenton, and her throughts easily shifted from that of 
prophets to that of spring planting. 

"Girls,'' she said, ''begin to pack right away. We 
must be off as soon as we can get ready. I must get 
home to my garden. " 




JOHN ST. JOHN 145 



CHAPTER NINETEEN. 

March was true to her fickleness that year. Mild 
winds were followed by rain which sometimes turned to 
sleet and snow which speedily melted before the warm 
sun. When the grass shot out tender and green and the 
buds began to swell and burst, Mrs. Fenton could 
content herself no longer. Now they would have to 
go home. 

John made no further objections, although he felt 
keenly that Dora would not remain with him. He — 
well, he was not going to plead. She must choose, 
and be left free in that choice. The grain of comfort 
left was that Dora had not refused him. "Hope springs 
eternal in the human breast," and John vigorously 
fanned his spark of hope by calling to mind all sorts 
of foolish and unconvincing reasons why she should 
go. However, the plain fact of the matter was that 
Dora could have remained had she herself simply 
willed it. Though the mother was somewhat fearful 
of threatened mobs and the talked-of western migra- 
tion, yet she would not have refused John his right to 
take Dora with him as his wife, had that issue been 
definitely raised. 

At the close of the day before their departure, 
John and his mother had a few friends come in to spend 
the evening. John thought to ask the Prophet to visit 
with them, even if only for a few minutes, but when he 
called at the Mansion and learned that Joseph was not 
at home, he attempted nothing further. 



146 JOHN ST. JOHN 

The evening turned out cold and stormy, so a fire in 
the grate added cheer to the gathering. When the 
lamps were lighted, the company sang, "Now let us 
rejoice in the day of salvation,'' and "The Spirit of God 
like a fire is burning." Then a Brother Brown, in a 
clear, rich voice sang: 

"This earth was once a garden place 

With all her glories common; 
And men did live a holy race. 
And worship Jesus face to face, 

In Adam-ondi-Ahman." 

John explained to Mrs. Fenton that these songs 
were composed by W. W. Phelps, and were sung at the 
dedication of the Kirtland Temple. The singer was 
there at the time, and now he was asked to tell the 
company some of his experiences on that eventful 
occasion. 

"Yes, I was there,'' said the brother, "and a most 
glorious time it was. I helped build that Temple 
also, you know. We finished it in the midst of poverty 
and the threats of evil men. When I attended the dedi- 
cation services I felt the Spirit of God which filled the 
house. President Rigdon, in his talk, called our minds 
back to the times when these walls had been wet with 
our tears, while we, in the silent shades of night, had 
prayed to the God of Heaven to protect us in our la- 
bors. The Prophet delivered a beautiful dedicatory 
prayer. 

"At the closing session. President Smith told us 
not to quench the Spirit, but to arise and prophesy good 
concerning the Saints. Brother George A. Smith be- 



JOHN ST. JOHN 147 

gan to prophesy. Immediately there was heard a noise 
like the sound of a rushing, mighty wind, which filled 
the Temple, and all the congregation arose, being 
moved upon by an invisible power. Many spoke in 
tongues, and many saw glorious visions. The Prophet 
declared that the Temple was filled with angels. The 
people of the neighborhood, hearing an unusual sound 
within and seeing a bright light like a pillar of fire 
resting upon the Temple, came running together with 
great astonishment. Yes, it was a most glorious time, 
one, I expect, which will not be repeated until the 
dedication of another temple." 

The evening passed pleasantly in reminiscences 
and songs. John told some of his own missionary ex- 
periences, doing his conscious best in the telling, hoping 
that somehow all this might touch Dora's heart and 
perhaps her mother's. John had barely concluded when 
Dora slipped into the kitchen, and presently she and 
Jane came back with trays containing a dainty, de- 
licious lunch. The conversation now turned to Mis- 
souri experiences, to which Mrs. Fenton was a silent, 
careful listener. 

When the party broke up and the house was quiet 
again, John and Dora found themselves alone. The 
south bound boat was due on the morrow, so this was 
their last evening together for some time — perhaps for 
all time. Deep emotion usually checked John's power 
of speech. Dora, too, was silent: that was better than 
a talkative indifference. 

John went to the window and looked out. The 
storm had ceased and the clouds were breaking. He 
stood there for some time, and when he felt Dora's 



148 JOHN ST. JOHN 

presence near him, he was tempted nearly beyond his 
power, to turn, seize her in his arms, and hold her for 
good; but he only grasped the hand that touched his 
own and held it firmly while they stood side by side 
looking out into the clearing sky. 

"Dora, aren't you coming to bed?" asked Jane 
from the doorway. 

They turned, with hands apart. "Yes, in a few 
moments," replied Dora. 

"Mama said we must get a good night's rest to be 
ready for tomorrow." 

"That's right, Jane," agreed John. "Go with her 
Dora — and good night." 

"Good night, John." 

And that was all there was to an evening which, in 
all reason, should have witnessed the exchange of vows, 
of loving tokens, of endearing promises, long to be 
remembered. 

Mrs. Fenton and the girls were ready in good time 
next day. John early had their baggage to the landing. 
Shortly after noon all the family followed. Mrs. Fen- 
ton did most of the talking, being busy with a sort of 
onesided planning of what they all should do. The 
boat delayed its coming; but as the weather was now 
warm and pleasant, the waiting was not uncomfortable. 

"How belated are these boats, usually?" inquired 
Mrs. Fenton. 

"All the way from an hour to a week," answered 
John, "depending, of course, on the state of the weather, 
the number of stops the boat must make, and the con- 
dition of the officers and the crew — not mentioning 
that of the boat itself." 



JOHN ST. JOHN 149 

"Dear me! We may not get away until tomorrow." 

"Perhaps not — I hope not," laughed John. 

"Well, we'll camp right here until it comes, if it's 
all night." 

"I don't think you will have to wait that long — 
there's the smoke now, see, up the river." 

A few other passengers now arrived, and some men 
were busy with a shipment of freight. In the dusk of 
the evening, the boat lay slowly up to the landing and 
made fast. There being little freight and few passen- 
gers to embark, the boat was soon ready to leave. John 
hurried the baggage on board, then came back to where 
his mother was bidding her guests goodbye. He duti- 
fully kissed Mrs. Fenton, then turned and looked into 
Dora's shining eyes. Just for a moment he held her in 
his arms while his lips touched hers. Then, at the 
mother's call, they hurried on board. 

Where was Jane? he had nearly forgotten her. 
yShe was already on the boat, sitting forward on a box. 
• "Jane," John shouted. "I didn't say goodbye to 
you." 

"No!" She sat with her head bowed. John sprang 
on to the boat and ran to the girl who arose to meet 
him. She stood there now nearly as tall as her sister — 
and a vision of loveliness forlorn. Tears were in her 
eyes and her lips quivered. Her hat was off, and it 
seemed to John that some lingering rays of the 
day's departing light had taken refuge in her curls. 
How foolish of him to have nearly forgotten Jane! 

"Goodby, Jane," he said as he drew her close and 
kissed her. "Be a good girl — as you are — as you have 
been," 



150 JOHN ST. JOHN 



^- 



L 



"John," she stammered, "I— I want to tell you 
something— something I haven't told you before— is 
there time?" 

"Yes, there's a minute; what is it?" 

"I don't want to leave — and, John, I believe — 
Oh, I beUeve," she sobbed. 

"BeHeve what?" 

"All that you have told us— the gospel, John— 
I believe it all. I want to stay with — with — the Saints, 
your people." 

"Fm glad to hear you say that; but you must go 
with your mother; that's your duty now. And my 
dear girl, there are trials and hardships ahead of me. 
Go back to your sheltered home." 

"I can stand the trials. I can, for don't you see, 
I believe!" 

John was amazed at the girl's fervent declaration. 
He looked into the beautiful face, now shining with the 
light of a divine confession. He glanced quickly about 
to see that the gang-plank had not yet been removed, 
then back to the girl. 

"Jane," he said gently, "to believe is not enough. 
One must know in order to stand what I fear is coming." 

"But I do— I—" 

"Go with your sister and take care of her. She 
needs someone. I wish I could go, but I cannot. You, 
Jane, with your faith, take my place. Do this for me, 
won't you, Jane?" 

Mutely, she nodded. 

Then he kissed her again, and sprang lightly to the 
landing as the boat was ready to leave. From the slowly 
receding deck three white handkerchiefs waved fare- 
well as long as they could be seen in the darkening night. 



JOHN ST. JOHN 151 



CHAPTER TWENTY. 

John and his mother went slowly back home. 
Darkness fell over town and river, and the lights of the 
departing boat could be seen creeping down stream. 
From the doorway of his house, John gazed at it until 
it was lost to view. 

The mother, busying herself about the supper 
table, now urged him to come and eat; but instead, he 
went to the lounge by the window, sat despondently 
down, and mutely shook his head at the invitation. 
His spirit which he had for the past few days kept so 
well in hand, now seemed to break; and his soul seemed 
to be crushed under the weight of his bitter disappoint- 
ment. Struggle as he would, the tears wet his hands 
into which he had bowed his face. 

The mother went to him, and when he felt her 
hand on his head, he clasped her passionately, hiding 
his head as if for shame in her bosom. 

"It's all right, my boy,*' she said tenderly, "cry 
away, and don't hold the tears back. Only your mother 
will know, and she understands." 

And so John St. John, the man, wept as a child in 

his mother's arms, which, she knew, was the best thing 

he could do to get heart relief. Then, after a time, 

when he had become quiet, she talked : 

r "I Jcnow it is hard to part with her; but John, if 

I Dora could not be brought to see the truth of the gos- 

i pel, she never would do for your wife." . . 

^ "Yes, mother, I know that full well; but that 



152 JOHN ST. JOHN 

doesn't make it any easier. 0, mother, she is so good 
in every way — so gentle and so sweet! Then why, 
Oh, why?" 

"If you have to sacrifice for the gospel's sake, re- 
member what the Lord has promised — a hundred fold 
of what you have given, and then life everlasting." 

"But, mother, what would life everlasting be to 
me without herl What would a hundred wives be, if 
that were possible, without the one I want and love 
beyond my power to tell. WithoJt her, the world is 
void and all else is without-^af3&>i.Mother, why is it 
that I have been permitted to thus fix my heart on 
someone that I cannot get? Why should one little per- 
son among all the world's millions be the standard by 
which my happiness must be measured? Mother, I 
cannot understand." 

The mother took his hand and held it for a time 
as if she were afraid her son would leave her. Then 
with the pain in her voice unhidden she said: "Right 
now it seems to you that all is lost; but after a time you 
will realize that you have yet something to live for, and 
that you have many blessings, now hidden behind your 
cloud of sorrow. Try — try to trust the Lord." 

John looked up into his mother's face, and there 
saw the marks of suffering. "Mother, forgive me," he 
begged. "I ought to be ashamed of myself. I have the 
best mother living. I have you — I have always, always 
had you." He took her into his arms and kissed her 
lovingly. 

"You have more, much more than your mother," 
she went on. "You have your Father in Heaven. You, 
John, are a King and a Priest unto God — and you 



JOHN ST. JOHN 153 

know that. You have right to commune with the 
Heavens and to Him who rules therein." 

"Yes— yes." 

"You have the Holy Priesthood, a power for 
righteousness which the world knows nothing about. 
If it is God's will that Dora Fenton shall be your wife, 
that will come to pass, if you do your part. But if she 
is not to be, then again God is able and willing to com- 
pensate you for the apparent loss. I say apparent, for 
there can be no real loss in accepting gratefully that 
which the Lord has planned to give us as a reward 
for faithfulness. He sees from the beginning to the 
end; we see very poorly and only a short distance. So 
I say again, John, trust in the Lord." 

Thus for an hour or more mother and son talked 
with each other regarding that which lay closest to 
their hearts. Then John urged his mother to go to bed 
and get her needed rest. 

"And you, John?" 

"I want to go out for a walk. Til not be long. 
Now, don't you worry any more. Vm all right, thanks 
to you, my dear mother." He kissed her again as he 
went out. 

As he walked down the street, he bared his head 
to the night air. He would go to the river. Somehow, 
there was comfort and rest in sitting on its bank and 
looking at the great stream making its irresistible way 
to the sea. 

The night was late enough for most of the lights 
in the city to be out. However, the sky was clear, and 
John knew every part of the river bank well. He left 
the street and made his way along a path which led 



154 JOHN ST. JOHN 

into a grove of trees in which the underbrush had not 
been cleared. He knew of a small clearing near the river 
where he could be alone. 

A short distance along this path, he met two men. 
They stopped, looked into his face, and recognized 
him. 

"Is it you, Brother John? What are you doing?" 

"Just out for a walk. What are you doing?" 

"We are now on the police force. There are a 
good many suspicious characters in the city, and we 
are on the lookout for mischievous plots. Well, good 
night." 

John went on. He thought no more of what the 
policemen had said, but made his way to the secluded 
spot by the bank of the river, and sat down on a stump. 
He looked out on the water, thinking of the past day 
and what it had brought to him. 

Presently, he heard the dip of oars from the river, 
and then he saw a boat drawing near. There was no 
landing at that point, and he wondered what might 
be doing. Then, not far away from under the river 
bank, which was high enough to hide a person, he 
heard a subdued call which the men in the boat an- 
swered. Carefully, the boat drew near the shore where 
it was lost to John's sight. 

In a few minutes he heard men talking. They 
drew nearer but stopped just as he thought he was dis- 
covered. John surmised no evil; he was merely an- 
noyed that his privacy should thus be disturbed. He 
was about to get up again and go on, when some words 
reached him which made him pause. The men were 
hidden, but he could now hear quite distinctly what 



JOHN ST. JOHN 155 

they said. There seemed to be quite a company — a 
dozen or more. He listened intently. Could he be- 
lieve his ears? Why, these men were plotting to de- 
stroy the Prophet Joseph and others of the leading 
brethren! 

John seemed rooted to the spot. Not wishing to 
be discovered, he crouched low. Now there came to 
him as a flash what Joseph had said only last Sunday, 
that there was a conspiracy on foot to take his life. 
The Prophet even named some of those who were en- 
gaged in it, and they were or had been some of the 
most prominent men in the Church — the Laws, the 
Higbees, Dr. Foster, and Mr. Jackson. John knew 
some of them, but he could not identify any of them by 
the voices he now heard. 

One of the men who seemingly had come to the 
rendezvous by boat, claimed to be an officer from 
Missouri. He presented a plan by which Joseph, at 
least, could be taken off their hands — for once safely 
into Missouri, he would assure them that the Mormon 
Prophet would never get back to Nauvoo. His plans, 
however, met with little favor; the kidnapping scheme 
had been tried before without results. No; something 
more definite would have to be resorted to to put the 
tjrrant out of the way. "What? How?" a number of 
them asked. 

"We must organize," said one, "and get as many 
as possible to join us. There are a lot of dissatisfied 
people in Nauvoo. They must be won over. Each of 
us who five here can do our share in this." 

As John listened his heart beat nearly to bursting. 
Forgotten were all his own troubles, swallowed up as 



156 JOHN ST. JOHN 

they were in this frightful danger which threatened the 
beloved President of the Church. But what could he 
do? One thing he began to realize — that he was a spy, 
even though an unwilling one. He must not be dis- 
covered by these plotters; men who were eager to do 
the wicked deeds they were planning, would think 
nothing of killing him! 

All the conspirators agreed that the Prophet must 
die, but there were so many methods proposed that no 
unity of procedure was arrived at. The discussion, at 
times, became quite animated, and some of the louder 
ones had to be quieted. 

For what seemed a long time John lay without 
moving. The party was about to break up, much to 
John's relief, when some one reminded the rest that a 
new member had joined them that evening. He had 
better take the oath. 

Yes, certainly, all must take the oath. 

John could not see, but what he heard seemed to 
curdle his blood; 

"Yow solemnly swear,'* said a voice slowly and 
distinctly, * 'before God and all holy angels and these your 
brethren with whom you are surrounded that you wiU 
give your life, your liberty, your influence, your all for 
the destruction of Joseph Smith and his party, so hdp 
youGodl" 

"I do," came in a somewhat faltering tone. Evi- 
dently, this person did not relish the ceremony. 

As they were separating, the final announcement 
was made again: "Don't forget. A week from tonight 
at Brother Law's." 

John now thought to get away; but as he was 



JOHN ST. JOHN 157 

crawling across the open, two of the men came along 
and nearly stumbled over him. Startled, they rapidly 
pulled out their pistols, and with oaths demanded to 
know what was there. 

John arose and stood before them. 

"A spy, a damned spy!" they exclaimed. "Halloo, 
men, here's a spy," they shouted. "Come back." 

"I am not a spy," protested John. 

The men gathered again hurriedly. "What is it? 
Who is it? Why it's John St. John," said one. 

The young man looked into the faces of his captors, 
and his worst fears were realized. Two men whom he 
had always thought of as brethren, and who had been 
close associates of the Prophet, were among them. Nor 
were they at all abashed at being discovered in such 
company, as they pressed forward and peered into 
John's face. 

"What are you doing here, if you are not a spy?" 

"I was just taking a little walk," John tried to 
explain. "I often come here." 

"At this time of the night? How long have you 
been listening. " 

"Not long." 

"What have you heard?" 

John did not reply immediately. 

"He has certainly heard too much," declared one. 
There was much flourishing of knives and pistols. 

"What have you heard?" again was demanded. 

"Brethren — gentlemen," said John, "I cannot 
repeat to you what I have heard. I was just resting 
here when you came up. What I have heard is quite 
fragmentary and indistinct." 



158 JOHN ST. JOHN 

"But you got the gist of what we are doing?" 

"Yes— I think so." 

"Then" — with an oath — "you'll have to join us. 
The easiest and quickest way for you out of this is for 
you to take the oath and become one with us." 

"Oh, I couldn't do that!" 

"Either that or die right here and now. Is not 
that so, gentlemen?" appealed the spokesman to his 
party. 

"It is — sure — certainly!" 

"Do you think we'll let you go back to Joseph 
Smith and tell him all you have heard! Not by a 
damned sight!" 

John stood there in the dim light of the stars, sur- 
rounded by these men. What could he do, what could 
he say? How could he answer their questions? To 
take their oath and to become one of them — that he 
could not do; but then they would kill him. In self- 
protection, they could not let him go. Well, was this 
the end— end of his life, and all his hopes? What would 
become of his mother — and Dora — well — " 

One of the men who had been prominent in the 
Church now pushed his way closely to John. "Listen 
to me. Brother St. John," he said. "Joseph is a fallen 
prophet, and if his wicked career is not checked, he will 
lead the Church to destruction. That's the reason we 
are planning as we are. It's for the best good of the 
Church, or we would not be doing this." 

John did not reply. 

"Yes," added another, "Joseph is fallen. He 
receives revelations from the devil, and he is deceiving 
the people. He is a wicked man." 



JOHN ST. JOHN 159 

"But, friends," suggested John, "if Joseph Smith 
is such a person, why not let the law handle him." 

"We can do nothing with him by the law. He 
always evades. Besides, the law is slow. We must 
have something swifter and surer. The Church will 
have been destroyed before the law can reach him. 
We must act. Come, join us and share with us the 
honor in such a worthy undertaking. Take the oath 
with us." 

"I— I don't think I can do that." 

"You'll have to. We cannot let you go. You 
know too much." 

"Dead men tell no tales," came from someone at 
the rear. 

The men closed in on him. Then a number were 
detailed to guard the prisoner, while the rest withdrew 
a short distance to discuss further plans of action. John 
could not hear what was being said, but he was made 
aware of the presence of his guards by their guns being 
poked into his sides. They would surely kill him: 
they were perhaps discussing the manner of his taking 
off. Would they leave his body in the brush or would 
they throw it into the river. Would his mother ever 
know. As for Dora, perhaps she would not care. 

The time dragged, and the guards became im- 
patient. There seemed to be a difference of opinion 
among the conspirators. It was surely past midnight. 
The city was very quiet. John shivered with cold. 
Then he thought of that moonlight night in Missouri 
when Henry Freland's dead face was turned so peace- 
fully up to the sky. Would he be like that? 

The conference now seemed to break up and some 



160 JOHN ST. JOHN 

of the men left. Those who remained said that they 
had been appointed a committee to dispose of their 
prisoner in case he still refused to do what they re- 
quired. These again pleaded with him and then 
threatened, but without avail. They then took him 
down to the river bank. 

When John came in sight of the water, he wondered 
in a confused way how far Dora was down the river. 
His mind persisted on this speculation, and he had 
difficulty in bringing his thoughts to bear on that 
which vitally concerned him at that moment — how to 
escape. There seemed no possible way out for him, 
and so why not let his mind travel in that enticing 
channel after Dora, Mrs. Fenton, and Jane — Jane, the 
little girl who had so suddenly grown up and who had 
clung to him so closely in their parting only a few hours 
ago. In a moment of time, he followed them on their 
long journey. He saw them arrive at Belford, drive 
out past Moston to their own home on the other side 
of the creek which was spanned by the rustic bridge. 
He even saw plainly the carved initials on the hand- 
rail of the bridge; and the vision of a beautiful girl in a 
white dress trimmed with blue, stood before him! .... 

"Come, now, for the last time, what shall it be?" 
broke in a rough voice. "We cannot remain here 
longer. We must do our duty while it is dark." 

John gathered himself together with an effort. 
"Men," he began, "I admit freely that I do not know 
just what to do, but this I know that the Lord is a 
Great Helper. If, as you say, you are in the Lord's 
service and are doing His will in this matter. He will 



John st. johN 161 

also make plain to me my duty. Be patient with me a 
moment longer while I ask Him." 

The young prisoner stood out in the open with 
bared, bowed head; the men drew back into the deeper 
shadow, watching, waiting. A night wind whistled 
softly through the trees. 

John prayed for help in this his hour of need. His 
lips barely moved, yet his heart went out to God. And 
then there came to him, more as a deep undercurrent 
of feeling than of thought that he was a King and a 
Priest — "I want every man who goes to be a King and 
a Priest; he may want to talk with his God." — The 
supplicant was not yet on the mountains, but surely 
God could be reached in such hour of need in the valley 
as well. "Lord, deliver me from the hands of these 
wicked men" — and then, as with an inspiration, swift 
as light, he went on — "not only for my own sake, but 
that I might warn thy servant the Prophet of his 
danger." 

When the men again drew close and called, "Timers 
up," John was calm and assured. Whether this in- 
dicated an easy, painless death or a deliverance, he 
could not decide; but he was at peace, and his thoughts 
were clear as he faced his captors, and said : 

"Listen once more to me. As I was coming here 
this evening, I met two of the new city policemen. 
They knew me, stopped and spoke to me. I learned 
from some of your conversation that a number of you 
men also had a meeting with these policemen. Knowing 
me, and presumably, knowing you, they had no sus- 
picions that we were up to any mischief at this uncom- 
mon time and place. Now, you men, tell me what you 



162 JOHN ST. JOHi^ 

will have to say when I am found missing in the 
morning?" 

"Nothing can be proved on us. We'll take care 
of that." 

"Many of you men are already under surveillance," 
continued John, in a clear, firm voice. "It will be 
rather awkward for you to explain my disappearance. 
I was last seen here near to you men. My friends of the 
Legion will want an accounting from you— from you, 
remember, and you, as you are well known in this 
community." The speaker pointed directly at them. 
"Now go ahead with your murdering!" 

One of the men drew his knife, muttering curses 
and declarations that he was not known, and he was not 
afraid; but he was restrained by others of the party. 
They were evidently considering what John had said. 

Just then in the clear stillness of the night, there 
came a call from up the street: 

"John— John!" 

It was the voice of his mother, calling to him, as 
she had done many times, when as a boy he had ling- 
ered into the night down by the creek or in the meadow. 

"John— Oh, John!" 

The voice was nearer. She no doubt had seen 
John walking toward the river, and she was seeking 
him. The men became nervous. If she came that way, 
they would have to move on; but where? Fear seized 
some of the men, who realized the force of John's 
statements. They were in no mood to be sacrificed for 
the cause in which they were engaged. 

The mother's voice rang out again. 

And the Lord used that voice to save John St. 



JOHN ST. JOHN 163 

John. It was not a loud, shrill voice, but it pierced the 
hearts of the wicked to the quick. 

"Come on, let us go," said one, as they were about 
to retreat; but another, fearful of the greater danger 
involved in releasing their captive, shook his fist in 
John's face, and with an oath warned him that if he 
ever breathed a word of what he had seen and heard 
that night, he would be shot at sight. With this ad- 
monition, agreed to by all the others, they withdrew, 
and John was left alone. 

John stood still, dazed somewhat by this sudden 
release from danger. Then with heart full of gratitude 
to his Heavenly Father for this miraculous escape, he 
sped swiftly along the path into the road, where he saw 
his mother coming slowly toward him. 

"Mother," he called, "Fm coming." 

He took her in his arms. "You are trembling, 
mother. There, now, I am safe, thank God!" 

"My boy, my boy, where have you been? You 
also are trembling." 

"I have been in great danger — but I am safe now, 
saved by the Lord and by you! Come, we must go 
home. You are cold." 

He took her gently back on the homeward road. 
She clung to him. "Why did you stay out so late? I 
went to bed, but couldn't sleep. Something drove me 
out to seek you. Oh, John!" 

"There now, mother. Fll tell you about it to- 
morrow — perhaps. Now you must go to bed — and I, 
too, for I am dead tired." 

As they reached their gate and walked up the path 
to the house the early cocks were crowing and the east- 
em sky was brightening with the coming day. 



i64 JOHN ST. JOHN 



CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE. 

John and his mother slept for a few hours that 
morning. Towards noon, he went to the store, but 
soon returned. He could not get his mind on any- 
thing, save that which had happened to him the 
night before. His mother was up preparing something 
to eat. She saw his restlessness and concern. 

"Tell me what happened. May I not know?" 
she asked. 

"Yes, I will," he replied decisively. I have been 
debating with myself whether or not to tell anybody, 
but I cannot hold it back from you." He drew her 
her down on the window seat near him; and here in 
the warm sunlight, screened somewhat by the cur- 
tains, he told his story. When it was finished, he felt 
better, and the mother, with arms about him whis- 
pered: 

"Thank God, you are here safe with me." 

"Yes, mother, the Lord was with me. I am sure I 
was saved that I may warn Brother Joseph." 

"But their threats!" 

"I am not afraid. I promised them nothing. I 
must find the Prophet right away." 

"Wait until tonight. These men are surely watch- 
ing you. There can be no immediate danger to the 
Prophet, for it seems that their plans are not fully 
matured?" 

"Perhaps you are right. There can no harm come 
from being careful." 



JOHN ST. JOHN 165 

"Fll take a little walk this afternoon and drop in 
at the Mansion and learn if Brother Joseph is at 
home. You know he is a busy man, and is in and out of 
the city." 

*'What would I do without you, mother. You 
saved me last night. I am sure of that." 

"I? What do you mean?" 

"Your calling me in the night seemed to turn my 
captor's wavering minds in my favor. I don't know 
whether it was the mother-voice which touched a spot 
in their hearts not yet hardened, or whether they were 
afraid; but your coming, I am sure, saved me." 

"Now I know the Lord answered my prayer," 
said the mother. "I went to bed as you suggested, for 
I was tired. About eleven o'clock I awoke. I looked 
into your room, but you were not there. For some time 
I waited, but as you did not come, I dressed and went 
out. It was passed midnight then. I called softly, 
but there was no response. Again I waited, and fear 
crept into my heart. You had never before remained 
away so late without letting me know where you were 
going. I walked timidly down the road, then back 
again, with a prayer in my heart all the time. How 
long I did this, I cannot tell. Then at last I boldly 
ventured into the night again, this time calling you 
aloud, and it was not long before you came to me." 

Mother and son clung affectionately to each other. 

They lingered for some time over a simple luncheon, 
then the mother dressed and went out. 

John remained quietly at home. Then he tried 
to work in the garden, but with little success. He mu^t 
g'et into seclusion and think withrout interruption. He 



166 JOHN ST. JOHN 

wondered more and more at what he had discovered 
regarding conditions in the Church at Nauvoo. Joseph 
had declared: "We have a Judas in our midst, "—and 
here were many of them. How could men who had 
tasted of the heavenly light of truth drop so deeply 
into the dark!" 

Mrs. St. John returned within an hour. The 
Prophet, she had found, was not at home; but Emma 
would tell him that John wished to see him. And 
Joseph would use discretion in his calls. So John and 
his mother contented themselves by remaining quietly 
in the house all the afternoon. 

In the dusk of the evening Joseph and his brother 
Hyrum called. This was not the first time the home had 
been honored with the presence of the Prophet and the 
Patriarch, and always their visits were received as a 
special blessing. The love for the Patriarch was no 
less than that for the Prophet. While Joseph was the 
President of the Church and the mouthpiece of God to 
the Church, Hyrum also was a man of devotion, of kind- 
ness and peace, full of love and charity. And these two 
men were deeply attached to each other, for together 
they worked in a common cause. They had shared 
much joy as well as sorrow. Together they had suffered 
by the drivings of mobs, and in chains in prison. John 
and his mother could not know that in a few more days 
only, these two brothers would also go together to 
martyrs' graves! 

John told his story to his visitors, and he was 
listened to without interruption. They did not seem 
surprised, for there was nothing new or unusually 
startling in this disclosure. They told him they knew 



JOHN ST. JOHN 167 

of the plottings of these men. However, they thanked 
him for what he had told them and blessed him for his 
courage and devotion. He was promised that he would 
not be harmed, for these men would not have power to 
injure him. With this assurance, they left as quietly 
as they had come. 

John and his mother were greatly comforted, and 
they went about their daily duties, much as before. 

A few days after John's night adventure, the April 
conference of the Church was held. The weather was 
beautiful, and many people came from the surrounding 
country. Mrs. St. John attended all the meetings, but 
John could not get away from his work until Sunday. 
However, his mother gave him a synopsis of the dis- 
courses preached by Joseph and Hyrum. Sidney Rig- 
don occupied part of the time on Friday, Saturday,and 
Sunday in a continued discourse on the history of the 
Church. At two o'clock Sunday afternoon, the Patri- 
arch spoke on one of his favorite themes, — the com- 
pletion of the Temple. At three-thirty President 
Smith began a discourse, it being the funeral sermon 
of Elder King Follett who had been accidentally killed 
about a month before. 

John sat with his mother among the great throng 
which listened to that wonderful discourse. He was in 
a receptive mood that afternoon, and he drank in the 
marvelous truths as they fell from the lips of the Proph- 
et. Some of the most impressive expressions which 
John treasured up in his heart were: 

"I want to ask this congregation to answer this 

question in their own hearts, what kind of a being God 
is? Ask yourselves; turn your thoughts into your 



168 JOHN ST. JOHN 

hearts, and say if any of you have seen, heard, or com- 
muned with Him. This is a question that may occupy 

your attention for a long time The scriptures 

inform us that This is Hfe eternal, that they might 
know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom 
thou hast sent' 

"I will go back to the beginning before the world 
was to show what kind of being God is. What kind of 
being was God in the beginning? Open your ears and 
hear. Oh, ye ends of the earth 

"God himself was once as we are now, and is an 
exalted Man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! 
That is the great secret. If the veil was rent today, and 
the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who 
upholds all worlds and all things by His power, was to 
make Himself visible, — I say, if you were to see Him 
today, you would see Him like a man in form — like 
yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as 
a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image, 
and likeness of God, and received instructions from 
Him, and walked, talked, and conversed with Him, as 
one man talks and communes with another 

"These are incomprehensible ideas to some; but 
they are simple. It is the first principle of the gospel 
to know for a certainty the character of God, and to 
know that we may converse with Him as one man con- 
verses with another, and that He was once a man like 
us: yea, that God Himself, the Father of us all, dwelt 
on an earth the same as Jesus Christ Himself did 

"Here, then, is eternal life — to know the only wise 
and true God; and you bg.ve got to learn how to be 
Gdds yolxi'MVes, and to tfe \drtgs arid prfefets tb G^, 



JOHN ST. JOHN 169 

the same as all Gods have done before you, — namely, by 
going from one small degree to another, and from a 
small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from 
exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resur- 
rection from the dead, and are able to dwell in ever- 
lasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who 

sit enthroned in everlasting power 

"These are the first principles of consolation. How 
consoling to the mourners when they are called to part 
with a husband, wife, father, mother, child or dear 
relative, to know that, although the earthly tabernacle 
is laid down and dissolved, they shall rise again to dwell 
in everlasting burnings in immortal glory, not to sorrow, 
suffer or die any more; but they shall be heirs of God and 
joint heirs with Jesus Christ. What is it? To inherit 
the same power, the same glory, and the same exalta- 
tion, until you arrive at the station of a God and ascend 
the throne of eternal power, the same as those who have 
gone before. What did Jesus do? Why, I do the things 
I saw my Father do when worlds came rolling into 
existence. My Father worked out His kingdom with 
fear and trembling, and I must do the same; and when 
I get my kingdom, I shall present it to my Father, so 
that He may obtain kingdom upon kingdom, and it will 
exalt Him in glory. He will then take a higher exalta- 
tion, and I will take His place, and thereby become ex- 
alted myself. So that Jesus treads in the tracks of his 
Father and inherits what God did before; and God is 
thus glorified and exalted in the salvation and exalta- 
tion of all His children. It is plain beyond disputation, 
and you thus learn some of the first principles of the 
gotepel." 



170 JOHN ST. JOHN 

The vast audience sat entranced under the spell 
of the voice of the Prophet. The flood of light on the 
nature of God and man seemed to lift John St. John 
from earth life to one of a heavenly order. As he watch- 
ed the glow of inspiration on the face of the speaker, 
he could not help but contrast that appearance with 
the murderous hatred which showed in the faces of 
Joseph's enemies. The speaker went on: 

"The first principles of man are self-existent with 
God. God himself, finding He was in the midst of 
spirits and glory, because He was more intelligent, saw 
proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a 
privilege to advance like Hi:aself. The relationship 
we have with God places us in a situation to advance 
in knowledge. He has power to institute lav/s to in- 
struct the weaker intelligences that they may be ex- 
alted with Himself, so that they might have one glory 
upon another, and all that knowledge, power, glory, 
and intelligence which is requisite in order to save them 
in the world of spirits. 

"This is good doctrine. It tastes good. I can 
taste the principles of eternal life, and so can you. They 
are given to me by the revelations of Jesus Christ, and 
I know that when I tell you these words of eternal life 
as they are given to me, you taste them, and I know 
that you believe them." ("Amen*' said John in his 
heart.) 

"What promises are made in relation to the sub- 
ject of salvation of the dead? What kind of characters 
are those who can be saved although their bodies are 
mouldering and decaying in the grave. When His com- 
mandments teach us, it is in view of eternity; for we 



JOHN ST. JOHN 171 

are looked upon by God as though we were in eternity. 
God dwells in eternity, and does not view things as 
we do 

"I have a declaration to make as to the provisions 
which God hath made to suit the conditions of men — 
made from before the foundation of the world. What 
has Jesus said? All sins, and all blasphemies, and every 
transgression, except one, that man can be guilty of, 
may be forgiven; and there is a salvation for all men, 
either in this world or the world to come, who have not 
committed the unpardonable sin, there being a pro- 
vision either in this world or the world of spirits. Hence 
God hath made a provision that every spirit in the 
eternal world can be ferreted out and saved, unless he 
has committed that unpardonable sin which cannot be 
remitted to him either in this world or the world of 
spirits. God has wrought out a salvation for all men, 
unless they have committed a certain sin; and every 
man who has a friend in the eternal world can save him, 
unless he has committed the unpardonable sin." 

John's thoughts went to his father who had gone 
into the world of spirits unconverted. Surely, there 
was yet hope for him. 

M rejoice in hearing the testimony of my aged 
friends," the Prophet concluded. "You don't know me. 
You never knew my heart. No man knows my history. 
I cannot tell it: I shall never undertake it. I don't 
blame anyone for not believing my history. If I had 
not experienced what I have, I could not have believed 
it myself. I never did harm any man since I was bom 
in the world. My voice is always for peace. 

"I cannot lie down until all my work is finished. 



172 JOHN ST. JOHN 

I never think any evil, nor do anything to the harm of 
my fellow-men. When I am called by the trump of the 
arch-angel and weighed in the balance, you will all 
know me then. I add no more. God bless you all! 
Amen." 
f^>^ Mother and son passed slowly out with the moving 
crowd. Some lingered to discuss what they had heard, 
but not so with John and his mother; to them these 
things seemed too sacred to talk about except in solemn, 
quiet, sacred places. As they walked homeward, the 
soft air of spring from the river blew into their faces. 
John's peach trees were in full bloom, and he noted 
that he would have to get busy in his garden. 

As they entered the house and put away coats and 
wraps they instinctively went to the "cosy corner" 
which already had become a spot sacred to Godly 
themes. They sat silently for a few moments, then the 
mother said: 

"Was it not wonderful!" 

"I am trying to realize fully that we are living 
within sight and hearing of a living prophet of God," 
added John reverently. 

"I am trying to be grateful for that." 

"Is Joseph a fallen prophet? When I think of 
what those men told me, and when I compare their 
spirit with that which flowed from Joseph this after- 
noon as a stream of light, then I can see how wickedly 
false are their accusations. Mother, had I never known 
that Joseph Smith is an inspired teacher, I can never 
deny that knowledge now." 

"You are right. The truth 'tastes good,' as Joseph 
, said." 



JOHN ST. JOHN 173 

"Think of what we have just heard! For ages 
men have been trying to find out God. Having had no 
light but their own learning, they have groped in the 
dark, and instead of finding God, they have departed 
further from Him. The purpose of the universe has 
been a riddle, and no man has been able to solve it. 
And now here, to us, a poor, despised people, the cur- 
tain has been lifted, and we have been shown the 
transcendent truth. Why, mother, when these things 
are published, they will set the world afire!" 

The mother smiled at his enthusiasm. "It would 
seem so," she said; "but the world hasn't been very 
much moved by other truths which have been given 
by the Prophet." 

"That's true; but why I cannot quite understand." 

"The things of God are understood only by the 
Spirit of God; and that is obtained only by obedience 
to the gospel." 

"Yes All during the meeting I wished Dora 

were with us in hopes that she would be impressed. 
But my hopes were guided by my heart, I suppose." 

"Dora, the same as all of us have been, must be 
born again before she can see the kingdom." 

"The kingdom! Oh, mother, how it opens 

to us! 'God Himself was once as we are now.* That sings 
and sings in my heart. 'God Himself, the Father of us 
ally dwelt on an earth the same as Jesus Christ didV God, 
then, is a man, now a glorified being, but still a MAN; 
and Jesus Christ the Son of God is, therefore, the Son 
of Man. We also are children of God and brothers of 
Jesus Christ. Jesus did what He saw His Father do, 
and we are admonished to follow in the footsteps of 



174 JOHN ST. JOHN 

Jesus God has won His way up through the 

worlds by conquering all forces, both good and evil, 
adding knowledge to knowledge, power to power, and 
glory to glory until He has reached His present ex- 
alted state. Jesus has been following the Father along 
the same celestial pathway, and now it is our privilege 

to do the same Yes; I can see the Savior's 

mission plainer now. The Father is so far ahead of us, 
has attained to such an incomprehensible degree of 
glory and exaltation that there must needs be an inter- 
mediate and a way-leader nearer to our human plane, 
and that Mediator, Leader, Lord, is Jesus Christ. He 
represents the Father. We come to the Father by Him. 
We must go in the way He has pointed out, and follow 
in His steps." 

"Why, John, we are not only of the royal English 
line, but we are in the lineage of the Gods!" added the 
mother reverently. 

"We are not really * worms of the dust,' only so 
far as we degrade our heavenly birthright. We are gods 
in embryo; and although we may yet be a long way down 
the scale, still, eternity is before us and the heights are 
there for us to climb. Mother, I am lost in the con- 
templation of these things." 

The day merged into twilight. John pushed up 
the blind, and they sat for some time silently in the 
pale light. The mother now offered to prepare supper, 
but John detained her. 

"Do you remember the questions I used to ask you 
about time and space?" he went on. "I used to imagine 
a straight line from the earth to the sun, then on to 



j6hn ST. JOHN 175 

some star, then on, on into the depths of space to the 
end — then what? There would have to be something 
on the other side of the end, which means, of course, 
that there is no end. There I was lost and had to come 
back home. Then as to time : there always was a yester- 
day, and there always will be a tomorrow — ^using earth- 
ly figures to express the idea — consequently, there can 
be no limits either way to time; and so again I was lost 
and would have to come back to the present. The 
Prophet's remarks this afternoon have set my mind 
going again. As time, space, element, and intelligence 
are eternal, so also must be the race of Gods. If the 
Great Eternal is a Father, He first must have been a 
Son; that Son must also have had a Father — which 
line of reasoning only pushes the query one step further 
back, and where can we stop? Nowhere. We are lost, 
and again we must come back home.*' 

"All right, John. Now let us stay here. Aren't 
you hungry?" 

*'Just a moment more, mother. You see, I want 
to talk about these things now while they are new to 
fix them in my mind. Some day I hope to tell my 
children about them. — This other thought I wish to 
express: Jesus lived here on this earth. He was hungry, 
tired, tempted, and suffered in every way as we suffer. 
When our Heavenly Father passed through His earthly 
probation. He also must have tasted of the ills of 
mortality. With the knowledge thus obtained still 
abiding with Them, these Two can feel for us, plan for 
us, and help us. They have gone before and They 
know the way. Mother, what sweet assurance that is 
to us who are trying in a weak way to follow!" 



176 JOHN ST. JOHN 

That night, before retiring, mother and son sang a 
hymn, and then said their prayers together. When 
John kissed his mother goodnight, he held her face be- 
tween his hands, and, looking into her eyes, said : 

"Mother, dear, never more ought I to complain. 
Have I not the gospel — and you?'' 




JOHN ST. JOHN 177 



CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO. 

In due time Mrs. Fenton, Dora, and Jane arrived 
safely home again. Dora informed John of this in a 
brief note, followed two weeks later by a long letter. 
John scanned this letter carefully to see what of hope 
or comfort he could get from it. Then he handed it to 
his mother. 

"Tell me what you make of it?'* he asked. 
"She wants you to come back to Belford." 
"Do you think she means that? She doesn't say so." 
"Only between the lines, where many letters 
say the most." 

As John read his letter again, he agreed with his 
mother. Dora told him that they were about to sell 
their country home and to move into Belford. Of 
course, there was much more life in town, and Jane was 
to go to the high school. It was with a sad heart that 
the writer contemplated saying farewell to their beautiful 
home. Frequently she wandered disconsolately about 
the grounds, her steps naturally leading her down the 
path to the creek. She usually stopped on the bridge. 
(And John stopped with her: he saw splashing water 
and heard the low, sweet piping of a bird from the 
bushes). "One day," the letter ran, "just as I was going 
to move on, a young man suddenly turned the bend and 
came on to the bridge. He paused, he stopped, he 
begged my pardon, for he evidently saw the distress 
in my face. He spoke very kindly to me, and was very 
nice. He was the new occupant of Moston." John 



178 JOHN ST. JOHN 

smiled at the writer's subtle attempts to make him 
fearful. 

Dora's letter was answered at length and in full, 
as John usually did. Then he honestly tried not to let 
thoughts of her worry him. He was aided in this re- 
solve by what was happening in Nauvoo, which largely 
occupied his thoughts and attention. The plots against 
the Prophet and the leading men, of which John had 
such first-hand knowledge, daily became more manifest. 
Wicked apostates showed their hatred more openly. 
Those living in Nauvoo conspired with the enemies of 
the Church in surrounding towns, and the spirit of 
mobocracy again became rampant. 

One day at the store a number of men were railing 
against what they called the unjust domineering of the 
Prophet. John hardly ever took part in public discus- 
sions of such topics, but on this occasion he was led to 
ask one of Joseph's accusers if he had ever read the 
Prophet's views on Priesthood domination. On re- 
ceiving a negative reply, John took down from a 
shelf a copy of the Times and Seasons, from which 
he read: 

"The rights of the Priesthood are inseparably 

connected with the powers of heaven and the 

powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled 
only upon the principles of righteousness. That they 
may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we under- 
take to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain 
ambition, or to exercise control, or dominion, or com- 
pulsion, upon the souls of the children of men, in any 
degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens with- 
draw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and 



JOHN ST. JOHN 179 

when it is withdrawn, Amen to the Priesthood, or the 

authority of that man We have learned by sad 

experience, that it is the nature and disposition of almost 
all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they 
suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise un- 
righteous dominion." 

Some of the bystanders grunted an assent to this. 

"Just a moment, friends," said John, "Let me 
read a little further: *No power or influence can or 
ought to be maintained by virtue of the Priesthood, 
only by persuasion, by long suffering, by gentleness, 
and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness, and 
pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul 
without hypocrisy, and without guile, reproving betimes 
with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost, 
and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love 
towards him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem 
thee to be his enemy; that he may know that thy faith- 
fulness is stronger than the cords of death; let thy bowels 
also be full of charity towards all men, and to the house- 
hold of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts un- 
ceasingly, then shall thy confidence wax strong in the 
presence of God, and the doctrine of the Priesthood 
shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven. 
The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and 
thy sceptre an unchanging sceptre of righteousness 
and truth, and thy dominion shall be an everlasting 
dominion, and without compulsory means it shall 
flow unto thee for ever and ever.' " 

"Men and brethren," commented John, "that's 
the doctrine of Joseph Smith. No man, having in his 
heart to tyrannize over his fellows, would be foolish 



180 JOHN ST. JOHN 

enough to teach such principles." John looked straight 
into the men's faces. "Do you men beheve that 
doctrine?" he asked. "Do you practice it? Some of 
you claim to hold the Priesthood. Before God, you 
will be held accountable, if you use it in any other way 
than here enumerated, *by persuasion, by long suffer- 
ing, by gentleness, and meekness, and by love un- 
feigned!' Again, I know, as well as some of you know, 
that Joseph measures fully up to his own doctrine. Let 
his enemies say what they will, let them do what they 
can, even to the taking of his life, I know the power of 
the Priesthood is with him. The pure in heart who 
know him best love him most, and testify of his 
faithfulness." 

John surprised his friends as well as himself by his 
defensive attitude, but he felt good about it, neverthe- 
less; and as he walked home that evening he thought of 
the serious condition the city was getting into. Men 
who had stood high in the Church and the community 
had been excommunicated and were now bitterly 
fighting the Church. They openly advocated the re- 
pealing of the city's charter because, they claimed, the 
city authorities, with Joseph at their head as mayor, 
were tyrannical and unjust. These agitators now 
announced that they would publish a paper in Nauvoo 
to further their cause. 

The first number of the Nauvoo Expositor was 
issued June 7, 1844. It scandalously attacked many of 
the most respectable citizens of Nauvoo. What could 
be done about it? The problem was fully discussed by 
the city council. To suppress the nasty sheet would be 
construed as an attack upon the inalienable American 



JOHN ST. JOHN 181 

right of free speech. To permit it to publish its false- 
hoods would in a short time arouse the country to 
such an extent that the mobocratic scenes of Missouri 
would be reenacted. The city council chose the lesser 
of two evils, as they thought: they passed an ordinance 
declaring the Nauvoo Expositor to be a nuisance, and 
directed the city marshall to destroy the press. 

This was done. Naturally, the hatred of the con- 
spirators became intense. In their desperation, some 
of them set fire to their own houses, then they fled to 
Carthage, the county seat, with terrible tales of what 
the Mormons were doing. Their lying stories spread 
like wild fire among the susceptible people. 

A warrant was now issued for the arrest of Joseph 
Smith and the entire city council, charging them with 
riot in destroying the Expositor. The warrant was 
served, and the officer was determined to take his 
prisoners to Carthage for trial. However, the law 
provided that they could be tried in some other court. 
On the refusal of the constable having them in charge 
to grant this, they were all released by writ of habeas 
corpus issued by the municipal court of Nauvoo. 

Indignation meetings were now held in the towns 
of Carthage and Warsaw, wherein were adopted resolu- 
tions with many highsounding "whereases" and "re- 
solves," stating that the life and liberty of the country 
were in danger, and declaring that the resolvers held 
themselves in readiness to co-operate with their fellow 
citizens of Missouri and Iowa "to exterminate, utterly 
exterminate the wicked and abominable Mormon 
leaders, the authors of our troubles." They further 
resolved that all Mormons "should be driven from the 



182 JOHN ST. JOHN 

surrounding settlements in to Nauvoo;" and then if 
Joseph and "his miscreant adherents" were not de- 
livered into their hands, "a war of extermination should 
be waged to the entire destruction, if necessary for our 
protection, of his adherents." 

Wild rumor flew about the country. Excitement 
grew. The leaders at Nauvoo worked unceasingly 
to present the truth both to Governor Ford and to the 
people at large. The city officials went before Squire 
Daniel H. Wells, then not a member of the Church, who, 
after giving them a careful hearing, acquitted them. 
The accused also expressed a willingness to go before 
the circuit court. But all these efforts for peace proved 
futile. Mobs began to gather and to threaten. Those 
who lived outside of Nauvoo and who would not take 
up arms against Joseph Smith and his associates, were 
told either to give up all their weapons or to get out. 
Many moved into Nauvoo for protection. 

Brother and Sister Freland were among the first 
to arrive. A day or two later William Dana, wife, and 
child came. John and his mother made them welcome 
and as comfortable as possible. Louise was near a 
nervous breakdown. When Sister St. John placed an 
easy chair for her, she sank into it, and clasping her 
child close to her breast, she sobbed aloud in a heart- 
breaking manner. 

John reassured them to the best of his ability. 
They would all share alike of what earthly possessions 
he had. Mobs could not take Nauvoo, he said. The 
Legion was a strong military organization. Let no 
mob venture against them! 

"No death could be sweeter than fighting against 



JOHN ST. JOHN 183 

the accursed mob!" said William, with a quiver in his 
voice. Louise raised her eyes questioningly, while 
John pressed his hand in mute assent. 

When mobs became more threatening, the city 
was placed under martial law, and the Legion was 
mustered into service. John and William marched 
away together, leaving the tearful women at home. The 
Prophet took command of the troops. In full uniform, 
he looked a general in very deed. Mounting the frame 
of a building near the Mansion, he addressed the 
Legion and the people who had assembled: 

"It is thought by some that our enemies would be 
satisfied with my destruction," said Joseph; "but I tell 
you that as soon as they have shed my blood, they will 
thirst for the blood of every one in whose heart dwells 

a single spark of a fulness of the gospel It is not 

only to destroy me, but every man and woman who 
dares believe the doctrines that God hath inspired me 
to teach to this generation 

"We are American citizens. We live upon a soil 
for the liberties of which our fathers periled their lives 
and spilt their blood upon the battle field 

"Will you all stand by me to the death, and sus- 
tain at the peril of your lives, the laws of our country, 
and the liberties and privileges which our fathers have 
transmitted unto us, sealed with their sacred blood?" 

"Aye!" shouted the thousands as with one voice. 

"It is well. If you had not done it, I would have 
gone out there — " pointing to the West — "and would 
have raised up a mightier people." 

The Prophet-General drew his sword and present- 
ing it to heaven, said: "I call God and angels to 



184 JOHN ST. JOHN 

witness that I have unsheathed my sword with a firm 
and unalterable determination that this people shall 
have their legal rights, and be protected from mob 
violence, or my blood shall be spilled upon the ground 
like water, and my body consigned to the silent tomb. 
While I live, I will never tamely submit to the domin- 
ion of cursed mobocracy. I would welcome death rather 
than submit to this oppression; and it would be sweet, 
Oh, sweet, to rest in the grave rather than submit to 
this oppression, agitation, annoyance, confusion, and 
alarm upon alarm, any longer 

"I do not regard my own life. I am ready to be 
offered a sacrifice for this people; for what can our 
enemies do? only kill the body, and their power is then 
at an end. Stand firm, my friends; never flinch. Do 
not seek to save your lives, for he that is afraid to die 
for the truth will lose eternal life. Hold out to the end 
and we shall be resurrected and become like Gods, 
and reign in celestial kingdoms, principalities, and 
eternal dominions, while this cursed mob will sink to 
hell, the portion of all those who shed innocent blood. 

"God has tried you. You are a good people; there- 
fore, I love you with all my heart. Greater love hath 
no man than that he should lay down his life for his 
friends. You have stood by me in the hour of trouble, 
and I am willing to sacrifice my life for your preservation. 

"May the Lord God of Israel bless you for ever 
and ever. I say it in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, 
and in the authority of the Holy Priesthood, which He 
conferred upon me!" 

r^^^^en!'* responded the full-hearted multitude.^ 
O/Brother Joseph, Brother Joseph! What do your 



JOHN ST. JOHN 185 

words imply? Is this your farewell to us? Are you going 
to leave us? Are you going to die — to die for us? No, 
no! let us die for you. We will protect you — we will 
shed our last drop of blood for you! Brother Joseph 

Hush! Still the throbbing, yearning heart. The 
man of God, the prophet of the last dispensation, the 
true Brother, the unalterable Friend, stands in the 
majesty of his person, and smiles sweetly as he looks 
out over the multitude. 

His time is come. His work is done. He has de- 
livered his last spoken word to his people! 






186 JOHN ST. JOHN 



CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE. 

The excitement in and about Nauvoo continued. 
Pickets were placed to guard all approaches to the city, 
and the Legion began throwing up entrenchments 
against possible invaders. The leaders at Nauvoo kept 
the governor informed on what was transpiring, and 
they appealed to him for protection against the threat- 
ening mobs. The governor came to Carthage. He 
requested that representatives be sent to him from 
Nauvoo, which was done. They found Governor Ford 
surrounded by the bitterest anti-Mormon leaders who 
acted as his advisers and who insulted the Nauvoo 
delegation with impunity. The result of this conference 
was that the governor made a demand on Joseph and 
his associates that they come to Carthage for trial. 
When the danger of this was pointed out, the governor 
pledged his faith as chief executive of the state that 
these men should be protected. 

What should the brethren do? Should they sub- 
mit themselves to the mercy of the merciless, or should 
they try once more to save their lives? 

Then a plan presented itself to the Prophet. 

"It is clear to my mind what to do," he said. "All 
they want is Hyrum and myself; then tell everybody 
to go about their business, and not collect in groups. 
There is no danger; they will come here and search for 
us. Let them search; they will not harm you in person 
or property, and not even a hair of your head. We 
will cross the river tonight, and go away to the West." 



JOHN ST. JOHN 187 

Late that same night, Joseph and Hjrrum, with 
two trusted brethren, rowed across the river to the Iowa 
side, where they began making preparations for their 
western journey. 

But that was not to be. Joseph's wife sent word 
to him, begging him to return. Others also advised him 
not to go, intimating that it was a cowardly act to thus 
leave the flock to the mercy of wolves. This decided 
him, 

"If my life is of no value to my friends, it is of none 
to myself," he remarked. To Hyrum he said: "If you 
go back, I will go with you, but we shall be butchered." 

That afternoon Joseph and his party rowed back 
across the river to Nauvoo. Then he sent word to 
Governor Ford that he would come to Carthage next 
morning. Would the governor send a posse for his safe 
conduct? No, was the reply, Joseph was to be at Car- 
thage without escort the next day, or Nauvoo would be 
taken by armed force! 

Early on the morning of the twenty-fourth of June, 
Joseph and the members of the city council against 
whom complaints had been made, rode out of Nauvoo 
for Carthage. As they passed the Temple, Joseph 
remarked : 

"This is the loveliest place and the best people 
under the heavens; little do they know what awaits 
them!" 

John St. John and his friend William, coming home 
from picket duty early that morning, saw the little 
party set out for Carthage. They knew the temper of 
the mobocrats and had heard of Joseph's forebodings; 
their hearts were heavy. They stood looking along the 



188 JOHN ST. JOHN 

Carthage road until the Prophet and his company 
disappeared from view. 

"I wonder if that is the last time we shall see him," 
surmised John. 

"I hope not," replied William. "The Lord will 
protect them. What would we do if they were taken 
away?" 

The other did not answer for a moment; his eyes 
were fixed on the distant road; then as he turned to his 
companion: "Well, if God wills it so, we must learn to 

stand alone Perhaps that also is a part of our 

schooling. Come, let us be going." 

At home, the two young men ate some breakfast, 
and then lay down to rest. Shortly after noon John 
went to the store, but there was very little buying and 
selling, the people, for the most part, being unable to do 
much of the regular business of the day. All were 
eagerly awaiting news from the county seat. Would 
Joseph and Hyrum have a fair trial? Would they have 
a chance? Would Governor Ford protect them? What 
would be the outcome of this new trouble? These, 
with kindred questions, were in the hearts and on the 
lips of the people. 

Early in the afternoon, the Carthage road was 
again darkened. A company of mounted militia rode 
intoNauvoo. Joseph and his brethren were with them. 
What did this mean? 

The governor had ordered all the state arms to be 
collected from the Nauvoo Legion. This company had 
come to carry out this order. 

John and William were among a group of men who 
had learned of this. "What?" exclaimed John, "are we 



JOHN ST. JOHN 189 

to be disarmed again so that the mob may do with us 
as they please as they did in Missouri? Never! We'll 
stand for no more driving. We'll die fighting first!" 

"Amen!" "We're with you," came from various 
of the group. 

"Shall we tamely submit?" 

"No, never!" 

"Then get your arms and meet me at the Temple 
in an hour. Tell the news to others. Rally the breth- 
ren. We'll fight this out as our American forefathers 
did. Patrick Henry had no more reason to shout 
'Liberty or death' than we have!" 

With a subdued cheer, the men scattered, They 
went to their homes with a determination to come armed 
to the rendezvous and resist any effort to disarm them 
or to insult them. If only Joseph would lead them! 
If only he would say to them, "Come, all ye faithful 
and true, let us stand our ground!" If only he would! 

But no; Joseph himself had countersigned the 
governor's order, and had come back to Nauvoo to 
assist in carrying it out. To the last, he would respect 
lawful authority. The legion must obey the command 
of the governor. There was to be no fighting. 

There are things harder to do than not to fight; 
and this, to John and William, and many others, was 
one of them. (No doubt, it would have been easier for 
Peter, of ancient times, to have fought and died for 
his Master than to see Him led away to the cross.) 

The state arms were collected. Twice during the 
afternoon, Joseph bade farewell to his family. He 
appeared solemn and thoughtful and expressed him- 



190 JOHN ST. JOHN 

self to several that he expected to be murdered. On 
the road to Carthage Joseph said: 

"I am going like a lamb to the slaughter, but I am 
as calm as a summer's morning. I have a conscience 
void of offense toward all men. If they take my life, 
I shall die an innocent man, and my blood shall cry 
from the ground for vengeance, and it shall be said of 
me, *He was murdered in cold blood!' " 

And now the city became strangely quiet as if, 
with bated breath, the inhabitants were waiting for 
some dire calamity. The night and the next day drag- 
ged by. On the twenty-sixth, the suspense became 
painful. Travelers from Carthage reported that Joseph 
and Hyrum were in jail, and the common rumor 
there was that they would not leave the town alive. 
Some of the mobocrats now wanted to march against 
Nauvoo and put the city to sword and flame, but others 
seemed content for the present in having in their power 
the Prophet and the Patriarch. 

On the twenty-seventh, the governor with a fol- 
lowing of officers and troops came to Nauvoo, leaving 
the Carthage Greys, the most bitter of the troops, to 
guard his prisoners. Several thousands of Nauvoo's 
citizens gathered at the corner of Main and Water 
streets, where the governor addressed them in the most 
insulting manner, unjustly accusing them of unlawful 
acts for which they should be punished. The governor 
and some of the officers visited the Temple where some 
of them were guilty of vandalism. At six-thirty that 
evening they rode away with great military display as 
if they wished to impress the people. 
.^ That evening John St. John, with mother and 



JOHN ST. JOHN 191 

friends, spent at home, as restfully as possible. Very 
quietly they ate their supper, after which they sat for 
a long time outside in the cool of the night. Neighbors 
visited with each other to learn, if possible, any news. 
A feeling of apprehension rested heavily upon all. At 
last they went to bed, but there was little sleep. John 
and William lay talking until late in the night. 

They were up at daybreak. John went out into 
his garden. The city lay as if yet sleeping in the cool, 
quiet of the June morning. He lingered a while to let 
the peace of the garden soothe his restless soul, then he 
stepped into the street. 

Shortly after sunrise, two horseman, with jaded 
animals, were seen coming along the road. They stop- 
ped at the Mansion where about a dozen men were 
gathered. John quickened his steps, and soon joined 
them. 

"What is it?" he asked. 

"Joseph and Hyrum are dead!" 

"Oh!" 

"They were shot to death yesterday afternoon 
in Carthage jail." 

"While the governor was here?" 

".Yes." 

John St. John stood in dazed inactivity for a few 
moments. Then he slowly went back home with the 
sad news. They all knew now what the forebodings 
of evil had meant. 

That afternoon ten thousand people went out to 
receive all that was mortal of Joseph Smith and Hyrum, 
his brother. About a mile east of the Temple, on Mul- 
hoUand Street, they met the company coming from 



192 JOHN ST. JOHN 

Carthage. Reverently, silently, the people opened a 
way to let the sad procession through; and as the wagon 
containing the two rude boxes covered with an Indian 
blanket came into view, a wave of lamentation swept 
over the multitude. It was the low, heart-rending cry 
of a people mourning for its dead! 






JOHN ST. JOHN 193 



CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR. 

The Prophet and Patriarch were dead. They no 
longer were to be seen on the streets of Nauvoo, in shops 
and stores, viewing and directing the work on the 
Temple, riding with the Legion, visiting the homes of 
the Saints, or delivering the word of God to Hstening 
multitudes. Joseph and Hyrum were gone, and there 
was a void in the hearts and the haunts of the people. 

How could the sun, as usual, bathe the earth in 
warmth and beauty? How could the breeze joyously 
rustle the corn and bend the flowers? How could the 
waters murmur peacefully on? How could the birds 
sing, the bees hum? Were not Joseph and Hyrum 
dead? 

The Latter-day Saints were as children bereaved 
of their parents, as a flock without a shepherd. All 
but two of the Twelve were away on missions. These 
two had been with Joseph and Hyrum in Carthage 
Jail. John Taylor was seriously wounded and might 
die. Willard Richards, who miraculously escaped the 
bullets of the assassins, was alone of the Twelve to 
comfort and to reassure the people. 

Thoughts of revenge were swallowed up in grief. 
The Nauvoo Legion could have marched to Carthage 
and could have swept the people and the town from the 
earth; but that would merely have been revenge, and 
vengeance belongs to the Lord. 

John St. John shared the troubles of his people. 
He listened, usually without comment, to their dis- 



194 JOHN ST. JOHN 

cussions of what should now become of them and who 
should lead them. He did not say much because he 
had no definite opinion as to how matters would turn 
out. His faith was left him, however, and he had a 
profound assurance that the same divine power which 
had established the Church would see to its perpetua- 
tion. He prayed fervently that the Spirit of the Lord 
would guide him and his friends, as well as the whole 
Church membership, in this their hour of trial. 

Early in August of that year Sidney Rigdon came 
from Pittsburg to Nauvoo. He had been counsellor to 
Joseph, in which position he had become such a burden 
to the President that he had "thrown him off*' his 
shoulders. At the services held in the grove Sunday 
morning, August 4, Elder Rigdon addressed the people. 
He said he had received a vision at Pittsburg in which 
he had been told that a guardian should be appointed 
to build up the Church to Joseph. He called attention 
to the fact that he had often been a spokesman for 
Joseph, and he proposed to continue in that office, 
though how that was to be done, was not made clear. 

Sidney Rigdon's words did not ring true to the 
Saints. Usually an eloquent speaker, he now failed to 
make the impression he desired. The people were not 
satisfied. 

A few days later, six of the Twelve having now 
arrived, the leading brethren held a meeting, the prin- 
cipal theme discussed being Sidney Rigdon's claim to the 
leadership of the Church. 

A general meeting was appointed for Thursday, 
August 8, at the grove, where the whole question of 
succession in the Presidency would be submitted to the 



JOHN St. JOHN 196 

Church. The Frelands had gone back to their homes, 
so John and his mother went early to the meeting to 
get seats well up to the front; and as they sat and waited 
for the people to gather, they talked to each other. 

"I can't get a favorable impression of Elder Rigdon," 
said John. "He has been with us so little of late; and 
again, how can any man be a spokesman for Joseph. 
Joseph is in the spirit world, and although his desires 
are yet for the welfare of the Church, his sphere of 
action is changed. We now want a spokesman for the 
Lord, just the same as Joseph was. Presidents will 
come and go, as all mortals do, but the Lord abides. 
We want, it seems to me, one who can say, 'Thus 
saith the Lord,' not one who will say, 'Thus saith 
Joseph.' " 

"I don't like the way Elder Rigdon speaks about 
the Church and himself," added the mother. "He talks 
as if the predictions of all the ancient prophets had 
reference to himself. Besides, he ignores the Twelve." 

"Well, the Twelve are here now. Joseph trusted 
them and relied upon them. There's Brigham, Joseph's 
right hand man in Missouri; and there's John and Heber 
and Willard and Parley and Orson and Wilford and 
George A. — all true men of God. We have heard 
many times, mother, that Joseph rolled the respon- 
sibility of carrying on the work on to their shoulders." 

"And they are here to carry it." 

"Yes; I recall the revelation which states that the 
Twelve stand next to the First Presidency, and they 
form a quorum equal in authority to the three presid- 
ing High Priests. Naturally, then, when there is no 
First Presidency, the Twelve is the next presiding body; 



196 JOHN ST. JOHN 

and in case the Twelve should disappear, the Seventy 
would have the power to set the Church in order." 

A large congregation had now assembled. The 
wind being unfavorable for speaking from the stand, 
a wagon was drawn to a position opposite, and in 
this Sidney Rigdon, William Marks, and a number 
of others took their place. After the opening exercises. 
Elder Rigdon spoke. He was visibly embarrassed, 
his speech being slow and labored. The congregation 
listened patiently. The people were deeply in earnest, 
wanting to hear the voice of the true shepherd; but 
when Elder Rigdon had spoken for an hour and a half, 
they became restless. They who had been wont to sit 
spellbound, listening to the Prophet, heeding neither 
time nor weather, now became uneasy. There was no 
charm, no spirit in the former eloquent man. 

Elder Rigdon ceased and sat down. Immediately 
a voice spoke from the stand, and the audience turned 
about to listen, their backs being now to the wagon 
and Elder Rigdon. 

The sound of that voice coming clear and distinct 
from the stand swept away the lethargy of the con- 
gregation. There was something strangely different 
in that voice, and it seemed to pierce the listeners to 
the soul. 

Mrs. St. John clasped the arm of her son. "John, 
who is it?" she whispered. 

"It's President Brigham Young." 

"No — it's Joseph — see — can't you see it's Joseph!" 

President Young was speaking again. 

"Listen, Mother; Brigham is speaking again; but 



JOHN ST. JOHN 197 

he is transformed — he looks like Joseph, he is speaking 
with Joseph's voice — Oh, mother!" 

President Young spoke a few words only, but those 
few words thrilled the congregation. Hearts were 
filled; doubts vanished; assurance came back to halting 
minds. Now they knew where the power of presidency 
lay. They had heard the voice of the true shepherd. 
When the meeting was dismissed, the people with 
beaming eyes and eager lips said to each other: 

"The spirit of Joseph rests upon Brigham." 

"Yes; as the mantle of Elijah fell upon Elisha, so 
has Joseph's fallen upon Brigham." 

"Brigham has always been Joseph's right hand 
man." 

"And he is President of the Twelve." 

" *And God has set some in the church, first 
apostles — ' 

"Praise the Lord! He has answered our prayers!" 

It is not the purpose of this brief narrative to tell 
in detail all that took place in Missouri and Illinois 
when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 
had its sojourn there for a few years. John St. John 
was only one of many with like experiences, and if we 
can enter somewhat into what he thought and did and 
suffered, then also we may realize to some extent the 
history of thousands. He was only one of a people 
called to endure much for the gospel's sake, and to 
lay the foundations of the great latter-day work. Let 
the generations following be grateful for what these 
^rly-day men and women did. 

Thte Twdve were sustaineki as tiife l^ders of thie 



198 JOHN ST. JOHN 

Church. A few were dissatisfied and followed various 
factions, but they did not prosper. The Saints at Nau- 
voo now directed their energies to complete what Jos- 
eph had begun. Work on the Temple was quickened, 
with the result that the capstone was laid on the twenty- 
fourth of May, 1845. In October of that year, the Tem- 
ple was so far completed that meetings were held in it. 
Part of the building was dedicated in November, 
following which a large number of Saints received their 
endowments. On the first day of May, 1846, the Tem- 
ple was pubhcly dedicated. 

For a short time after the martyrdom, the people 
of Nauvoo enjoyed peace. Then, their enemies, seeing 
that the taking away of the Prophet had not destroyed 
the Church, again began agitation. Crimes of all kinds 
were laid at the door of the people of Nauvoo. No 
matter how many times these accusations were denied, 
or how much the citizens of Nauvoo courted investiga- 
tion, wicked rumors spread far and wide. In January, 
1845, the state legislature repealed the charter of the 
city and the Legion, thus leaving the citizens more 
exposed than ever to the fury of their enemies. 

In the fall of 1845, anti-Mormon meetings were 
held in various nearby towns. Mobs again began to 
plunder. Not only Mormons suffered, but all who 
w^reiji any wa"y friendly to them or who dpposed law- 
lessness where made to feel the cruel hand of oppression. 

The cry everywhere became, "The Mormons 
must leave the country." They were advised to go to 
California or to Oregon as the great West was called. 
"Go out there and make a nation of your own.^' ^^^ 



JOHN ST. JOHN 199 

the Saints would eventually go to the Rocky moun- 
tains. At any rate, President Young and the leading 
men had not lost sight of that prediction, and now 
public announcement was made that the people would 
leave the state just as soon as they could dispose of 
their property and get ready, in the spring. 

During the fall and winter of 1845, the people were 
busy selling property and procuring what was necessary 
for such a far journey. Carpenters, blacksmiths, and 
wagon-makers worked incessantly. The Saints in the 
nearby settlements sold their property — if they could — 
and came into Nauvoo, where they made preparations 
for the great move. 

And amid these busy scenes, the -finishing of the 
Temple was not neglected. Though the Saints were 
getting ready to leave it, they would complete it as the 
Lord had commanded, even if they had to do so with 
the trowel in one hand and a weapon of defense in 
the other. 

The enemies of the Saints were impatient to have 
them go, so early in the month of February, 1846, 
ferrying began across the river. The weather became 
so cold that the river froze over, allowing hundreds of 
teams to cross on the ice. Many of the Saints left the 
"Beautiful City" with the comfort of good homes, and 
slowly wended thdr way westward. They were soon 
lost to view in the snow-covered plains of Iowa. 

Brother and Sister Freland, William and his wife 
and child were among the first to leave. They had 
disposed of their property, getting barely enough out 
of it to poorly fit them out. "However," said Brother 
Frelaaid^ "if tkeiie is a pkce on God's earth where mobs 



200 JOHN ST. JOHN 

cannot come, I want to find it." The aged brother and 
John's "Missouri Mother" were none too strong, and 
John's heart ached for them as he bade them goodby on 
the Nauvoo side of the ice-bound Mississippi. He also 
would have gone, but his mother was not well, and he 
had not as yet been able to get even a little for what 
property he owned. Values were shrinking terribly in 
Nauvoo. John St. John's worldly prestige and wealth 
had nearly reached the vanishing point. 



0^ 



JOHN ST. JOHN 201 



CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE. 

The September air was cool, but the afternoon 
sun shone warm through the closed window to where 
Mrs. St. John sat with her sewing. John came in quietly. 

"Mother," he reproved, "why didn't you stay in 
bed as I told you?" 

"There is so much to do, John, so much mending 
for the poor people who must leave. I want to help 
a little." 

"Yes; but you are sick — see, your hands are trem- 
bling, so you can hardly hold the needle. Come, put 
away your work and lie down here to rest." 

He arranged a pillow for her on the sofa, and she 
willingly did as he directed; for, truth to tell, she was 
not well. He spread a cover over her, then drew his 
own chair up close. 

"What's going on in the city?" she asked. 

"A number of brethren came from Mount Pisgah 
and Garden Grove today. They report long trains of 
wagons travehng westward." 

"And we remain — " 

"Just for a little while longer. You'll soon be 
well again, and then we also shall go." 

The mother did not reply. John stroked gently 
the whitening head. 

"The mobs are threatening again," he said; "I 
may be called out at any time — but how can I leave 
you, mother?" 

"When you are protecting the city, you are pro- 



202 JOHN ST. JOHN 

tecting me. Do your duty, John; I do not want to 
fall into the hands of mobbers." 

"And you shall not while I can prevent it. Grov- 
ernor Ford has sent us Major Parker to raise a com- 
pany of volunteers to defend the city. The Carthage 
mob is led by old man Brockman, and reports are 
that he is about ready to march on the city. All who 
can are getting away either up or down or across the 
river. I am telling you this, mother, not because it is 
good news, but because I think you ought to know 
the truth." 

The mother reached for her son's hand and 
held it with gentle firmness for some time. The sun 
sank low in the cloudless sky, and John pushed back 
the curtains. The mother lay in the fading light. Mor- 
tality seemed to have nearly passed from her dear face. 
How beautiful she was! Was he to lose her? She was 

his last earthly tie All the summer she had been 

ailing, getting a little weaker day by day, fading slowly 
as a drooping flower. She seldom spoke now of the 
long, hard westward journey before them. She seemed 
satisfied to lay her body to rest in a spot of earth in the 
City of Joseph, rather than to drag it out into the 
wilderness 

"When duty calls — ^go, my son," said the mother. 
"I shaU be all right." 

A few days later, a watchman on the tower of the 
Temple announced that a body of men was coming 
toward the city on the Carthage road. The western 
move had drained the city of most of its able-bodied 
men, but what few remained collected and marched out 
to mctet the invaders. Db^bb the r'qgultai* vt^untieferS; 



JOHN ST. JOHN 203 

a body of select men for flankers and sharp-shooters 
were organized under the leadership of Captain Wil- 
liam Anderson. They called themselves the Spartan 
Band. 

The mob forces advanced along the road, firing 
their cannon into the fields, and making great havoc 
among the corn stalks. There was a din as of battle 
eastward near Squire Wells' residence when the mob 
forces came to a halt about a mile from town. 

The defenders had no artillery to train against 
those of the invaders. What could be done? Two 
steamboat shafts were found near the river. These 
were cut in two, plugged, and made into rude cannon, 
from which bags of scrap iron were fired, to the sur- 
prise and consternation of the mob forces. All that 
night the defenders were busy strengthening their 
earth entrenchments. John St. John had reported for 
duty early in the afternoon, and he spent the night in 
the trenches with gun and spade. 

The next morning, it was observed that the enemy 
were cautiously advancing. Squire Wells' house was 
fired at, and though the family was at home, no one 
was hurt. A ball from the enemy's cannon took the 
roof off a small house near by. In wild affright, an 
old woman rushed out and pleaded with the mobbers 
spying that her hiisband w^as sick and could not get 
away. The heartless wretches dragged the old man 
from his bed and house, took him away, and it was 
learned, later, ducked him in the river. As an explana- 
tion of his death, they said they had only intended to 
"baptize" him^ but they had perhaps held him under 



204 JOHN ST. JOHN 

All that day the gallant band of defenders bravely- 
resisted so that the attacking force could not reach 
Mulholand street. The sharp-shooters and the home- 
made cannon did good service. Tired, grimy, hungry — 
John was glad when night and comparative quiet came 
and he could hurry home for a few hours. 

He found his mother in her easy chair, keeping 
up bravely. Her work had dropped from her hands, 
and she seemed too weak even to pick it up. A lunch 
was awaiting him on the table. He first put his mother 
to bed, then ate his supper, afterward sitting by his 
mother and talking to her until his tired eyes closed 
in sleep. 

Before daybreak John was again at his post. That 
morning a messenger came from the camp of the enemy 
with a flag of truce and a communication addressed to 
the "Mormon forces" demanding their surrender on 
terms that they give up their arms and permit the in- 
vaders to enter the city. Major Clifford, who was now 
in command of the Nauvoo forces, sent back a refusal 
of the mob leader's demands, stating that he and his 
forces were acting under authority of the governor 
and commander-in-chief of the Illinois militia. 

On receiving this reply, the mob renewed its 
attack with much vigor, and the battle of Nauvoo was 
on again in earnest. Captain Anderson, of the Spartan 
Band, led his men in a gallant fight. A^musket ball 
pierced his breast, and he fell. 

"I am wounded!'' he exclaimed, "take my gun 
and shoot on!" 

The captain's fourteen year old son, Augustus, 
wHd haxi foufeht by the sidie o^ his father, w^s hit by a 



JOHN ST. JOHN 205 

cannon ball and died shortly after. A number of others 
were wounded in this fight, which eventually ended in 
the mob forces retreating to a place of safety. 

Early on the morning of the fourth day, John St. 
John plodded homeward on a brief respite. He was 
tired to the very marrow. He could hardly drag one 
foot after the other. He paused to rest at a brother's 
home near the Temple, and in the dim light of morning, 
he saw the faithful sentinel on the tower, whose duty 
it was to report the movements of the enemy. Enter- 
ing the house, he found the women folks busy cooking 
breakfast. He was invited to remain a few moments 
and he would be served. 

John sat down to rest and to wait. Had the appe- 
tizing odors attracted others? for three more men soon 
arrived. They, however, did not sit nor wait nor eat, 
but they hurriedly took everything that was pre- 
pared and carried it away to the fighting men in the 
trench. The good women looked at each other and 
then at John, and then they became busy doing their 
work over again. The hungry guest laughed good- 
naturedly at the "joke'' on him, and said the men did 
exactly right. He went on home without waiting for 
the second cooking. 

The sun was rising as he entered the door of his 
home. Everything was still. Evidently, his mother 
was yet asleep. He walked quietly about, and then he 
peeped into her bed room. Yes, she was in bed, lying 
very quietly — so quietly that John was startled. He 
stepped in and placed his hand on her forehead. It was 
cold. He felt of her hand, lying on the coverlet. It 
also was cold and lifeless! 



206 JOHN ST. JOHN 

"Mother! Oh, mother'/* 

But that mother would never more speak with 
mortal lips. She was dead. 

John stood dazed in his agony and yet as 

he looked into that stilled face, he saw traces of that 
peaceful passage which is promised to those who die 
in the Lord. They "shall not taste of death, for it shall 
be sweet unto them." Yes, death must have been sweet 
to his mother — a passing from scenes of mobocracy and 
violence to the restful Paradise of God. 

The mother had evidently prepared herself for 
this final leave taking. Her house was in order. She 
herself was clothed in a flowing white dress and dainty 
cap. She lay in her bed as if she had been placed there 
by other hands. The coverlet was smoothly undis- 
turbed. John stood looking at it all in pained wonder 
for some time. Then he left her room, and closed her 
door; as he stepped out into the bright morning, a boom 
of cannon greeted him from the direction of the battle 
field. 

John went back to the neighbor's where the second 
preparing of breakfast was about completed. A number 
of others — women, children, and old men had gathered 
to this place with the feeling that there would be more 
protection so near the sacred precincts of the Temple. 
Besides the cooking, many were occupied with moulds 
and moulten lead, making bullets for their soldier 
brothers and husbands. When John appeared on this 
busy scene, the munition makers, thinking he had come 
for ammunition, pointed to a bread-pan half full of 
bullets and told him to help himself. But before John 



JOHN Si'. JOHN 20? 

could explain, he was taken in charge by a sister who 
knew of his first visit there that morning. 

"Have you eaten yet?" she asked. 

"No, thank you, but — " 

"Just come into this room. Til find something for 
you." 

"Just a moment. I must tell you first that my 
mother is dead." 

"Dead! Oh, Brother St. John!" 

"Yes; I found her in bed this morning. She 
must have died during the night. She is now safe — 
out of danger. I wish all you sisters were as safe from 
harm as she." 

"Shall we go over to her?" 

"That is not necessary just now. Keep on with 
your work. Now Fll eat a little and lie down to rest 
for a while, if you'll keep a lookout on our house." 

As John lay in a quiet corner of the house trying 
to sleep, he heard the sentinel on the Temple call out 
his tidings of how the battle was going. Between the 
distant rattle of guns and the nearer noises of the house, 
he heard the fretful cry of children and the suppressed 
sobs of women, and his heart ached in pity for them. 
However, he could better serve them if he could get a 
little rest, so he gave himself up to sleep for a few hours. 
Shortly after noon, he was again with his brethren, 
fighting with more abandon than he had ever before 
shown. 

Overwhelmingly outnumbered, and outclassed by 
resources, the defenders now realized that sooner or 
later, the invaders would win. A treaty was, therefore, 
made by which the besiegers were to enter the city, but 



208 JOHN ST. JOHN 

they were not to molest the citizens. The defending 
forces were now disbanded. 

John hurried home to prepare for laying his mother 
to rest. There was not a man in the city, known to 
him, that he could get to make a casket, so John him- 
self went to work at the sad task. The result was crude, 
but it was the best that could be done. The sisterly 
hands of the neighbors assisted, and as soon as possible, 
the little procession was ready to proceed to the burial 
ground. 

At that moment, a number of mobbers came to 
the house. They were drunken and insolent. They 
announced that they had come to search for arms, and 
were about to crowd past and disarrange the funeral 
proceedings. In righteous wrath, John commanded 
them to stand back. 

"I have no gun," he said, "but the first man who 
attempts to enter shall be brained." 

The intruders were of the kind that whiskey makes 
cowardly instead of brave. When they saw the young 
man standing erectly against them with a large shovel 
in his hand, they slunk, muttering, away. 

The little procession moved peacefully through the 
streets to the cemetery. On every hand could be seen 
the devilish work of the mob. About fifteen hundred 
of them had moved into the city and had camped at the 
foot of the hill near Parley street. Soon parties of 
armed men had roamed the street at will, insulting, 
threatening, robbing, and ordering families to leave 
on short notice. No respect had been shown to age or 
infirmity. They had entered the Temple, had rung the 
bell in the tower, and yelled with frenzied glee: 



JOHN ST. JOHN 209 

"Who is the keeper of the Lord's house now?" 

After John had performed the last sad rites for 
his mother, he wended his way back home. The ex- 
citement in the town was abating, and campfires were 
being prepared for supper making. A neighbor warned 
John that he had overheard some of the mobbers, whom 
he had defied earlier in the day, planning to "get even" 
with him. It would be safer if he did not occupy his 
house that night. 

Well, he had nothing now to keep him at home. 
Now he could follow the main body of the Church 
westward. He would leave immediately. He could do 
this. The business at the store had been closed some 
time ago, and what had remained of that wreck had 
been spent during the last days of trial and trouble. 
He had tried to dispose of his small land holdings, but 
to no avail. No one wanted to invest during such un- 
certain times. John's convertible earthly possessions 
could be made into a bundle which he could carry away. 

By ten o'clock that night John was down by the 
river. He found one leaky boat still unused. He paid 
the owner two dollars for it, baled it out, calked its 
biggest seams with rags, placed his bundle in the prow 
out of reach of the wet bottom, stepped carefully in 
and pushed out into the stream. 

Goodby to Nauvoo! The moon was hidden. The 
night was still, and the city and the river lay peacefully 
under a cloud of darkness. John was glad to get away, 
and yet, as he rowed across the river, it seemed to him 
that he was leaving the world in which he had thus far 
lived his life, and going to another world — one which 
lay in the dim, untried unknown. 



210 JOHN ST. JOHN 



CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX. 

John landed on the Iowa side of the river about 
midnight. Here and there, dim lights flickered. Fretful 
tries of children and groans of sick men and women 
rose on the night air. Hundreds of people were camping 
on the river-bottom land, refugees from the stricken 
city across the river. Most of them now lay in the 
open with no shelter from the cold. When John stepped 
about, many awoke from their uneasy sleep, fearful 
that the enemy had already followed them. 

John had no particular place to go, had no one 
to inquire after. He walked aimlessly about the piti- 
ful scene until he was attracted by a small group watch- 
ing over a dying woman. She lay on a piece of mat- 
tress, covered with a quilt. Over her had been stretched 
a sheet to form a sort of tent. A tallow candle, shel- 
tered by a paper shade, sent its flickering light over the 
scene. A man, evidently the woman's husband, was 
holding her head and occasionally placing to her lips 
a battered, blackened tin cup containing river water. 
Out a few feet from the dim circle of light, sat two little 
children on a piece of drift-wood, pouring out their 
heart-smothering sobs. 

The wanderer paused, watched, and waited, 
wondering if he could be of any service; but mortals had 
done their worst and best for this woman, and in a few 

moments, her Maker took her in hand! John 

passed on and came to a group very much like the one 
he had just left. A number of women were busy about 



JOHN ST. JOHN 211 

a sick sister's rude bed. As he approached, he heard the 
faint cry of a new-bom babe — ^just come into the world! 
John turned away. 

A short distance away burned a small drift-wood 
fire near which sat two men. One was old, nearly to 
dotage, the other a young man who appeared to be 
very ill. Coatless and hatless, the sufferer crouched by 
the fire with his head hanging between his knees. John 
touched him on the shoulder, at which the young man 
tried to raise his head. 

"He's sick," muttered the old man. "He's my 
grandson.— He gave me his coat." 

John took off his own coat and wrapped it about 
the younger man, who smiled faintly at the kind deed, 
but shook his head as if it all were useless. Then John 
bethought himself of his bundle which he had left at 
the river bank. Two quilts were in it. He hurriedly 
fetched them and made a bed by the fire. Into this 
bed he tucked both the sick boy and his grandfather, 
telling them to go to sleep; he would watch and tend 
the fire. 

In this way the night passed. John dozed a little, 
but the chill of night made it too uncomfortable to 
sleep. The camp was astir at dawn. The old man had 
slept fairly well, and the young man said he was better. 
John shared with them what little food he had, and 
told them to keep the quilts. 

By the light of the day, John saw a most pitiable 
condition. The poor, the sick, the old, the infirm — all 
who had been unable to leave Nauvoo earlier were 
now huddled together on the bleak river bank. Their 
only hope now was that their brethren might come from 



212 JOHN ST. JOHN 

the temporary western settlements to their rescue. If 
this failed, they would perish miserably where they 
were. 

John St. John with his lightened bundle, went 
about the camp trying to form some plan of action for 
himself. Going back to the river where he had fast- 
ened his boat, he found a man and his wife in deep dis- 
tress. They told him that they had lost their little 
seven year old daughter. In their hurried flight from 
their home, they had thought she was with some 
neighbors; they had found their mistake when it was 
too late. She must still be in Nauvoo somewhere — had 
been there all during the night. Was this boat John's? 
Could the man use it to get across the river? 

But neither the man nor the boat was in a con- 
dition for such a trip. The man was not well and the 
boat was half full of water. John looked at the dis- 
tracted parents, and then at the boat. He had been 
seeking something to do. Here was something right 
at hand. 

"ril go back and try to find your daughter," he 
said. "Tell me about her." 

They told him where their home was in the city 
and described their little girl. By the aid of the father, 
John drew the boat on shore, baled out the water, and 
tightened the calking. By noon he was pulling stead- 
ily at the oars, the boat pointing to the Nauvoo side 
of the river. 

On reaching Nauvoo, John went directly home. 
Mob-soldiers were still about the city, but he was not 
molested. He saw that his house had been ransacked 
during the night. Practically every movable thing of 



JOHN ST. JOHN 213 

value had been taken away or badly broken. He found 
one of his discarded coats, which he now gladly slipped 
on. He looked about the desolate place for a few 
moments, then passed up the street toward the home 
of the little girl he was seeking, on the further side 
of the city. 

The town was deserted, empty of inhabitants. 
How quiet it was! Lots and gardens lay neglected, 
houses were vacated. The stores were closed, the 
workshops were still. The afternoon sun became warm, 
and a mellow autumn haze bathed the town. 

John readily found the house he was seeking. 
The wicket-latch clicked loudly as he stepped on to the 
path leading up to the door, but no one came to meet 
him. The front garden glowed with marigolds, dahlias, 
and heavy-headed sunflowers — and John caught him- 
self thinking that he would get seeds from these for 
his own planting. He pushed open the unlocked door 
and looked into the deserted rooms. No one was 
there, save a little kitten crying loudly for companion- 
ship. 

Inquiry of the few people who were about brought 
no information regarding the little girl. Not far away 
the Battle of Nauvoo had been fought. John looked 
again on the trench he had helped to dig and defend. 
He passed through a battle-scarred orchard wh«^ he 
picked and ate a few apples. Nearby wheat fields, 
yellow ripe, lay trodden on the ground. A number of 
houses in this part of town showed marks of cannonad- 
ing. 

After some hours of fruitless search, John returned 
again to the child's home. Once more he looked through 



214 JOHN ST. JOHN 

the rooms, and there, in a comer, huddled on a pile 
of rags, she lay. Her uncombed hair hung over a tear- 
stained face. Fright, hunger, and exhaustion had done 
their work, and now she lay fast asleep with the little 
kitten curled up in her lap. 

At John's footsteps, the kitten sprang up, mewed, 
and rubbed its arched back against his legs. With a 
start, the little girl also awoke, and seeing the stranger, 
she began to cry. 

"Don't cry, little girl," said he, "I will not hurt 
you. I have come to take you to your mamma." 

"Mamma, Oh, mamma, where are you?" 

"She is across the river. They missed you. Where 
have you been?" 

"When the wicked men came, I hid, and — well 
then I went out — and then the dark night came on, 
and—" 

She could explain no further, for her experiences 
had unnerved her. John picked her up and carried her 
out. "There now, don't cry any more. You are all 
right now." He managed to get her something to eat 
and then he took her to the ferry where some people 
whom he knew were about to cross. He sent the 
little girl to her parents with them. 

John was not ready to recross the river. He want- 
ed to get some more clothing, if possible, and he wanted 
to try once more to dispose of his property. He was 
practically penniless. He could not make the western 
journey without a team and provisions. He must try 
again to sell or trade his bit of land. 

Leaving the ferry, he passed up the street and 
by the post office. For a long time, he had received no 



JOHN ST. JOHN 215 

mail. Perchance there would be something for him. 
He went in and asked. A number of papers were 
handed to him, and, yes, there was a letter — one from 
Dora. 

It was the first he had received for over a month. 
He fingered it lovingly. What had she to say? Where 
could he read it in peace? He would go to his deserted 
home. He would be absolutely alone there to receive 
what message Dora had for him — either good or bad. 
He slipped the letter into his pocket and went to his 
house. The chill of evening was already in the air, and 
he thought a fire would add both comfort and cheer. 
The mobbers had not taken away all his wood-pile, so 
he carried a number of large armfuls in near the fire- 
place, and soon had a blaze. There was still light 
enough from the west window by which to read, so he 
sat down on the seat in the "cosy comer," opened his 
letter and read: 

"Dear John: — I have been ill for three weeks, but I 
forbade mother or Jane to write you about it: we know 
somewhat of your troublesome times, and I did not 
want to add anything to your worry. But I am better 
now, and I am sure that Dr. John St. John could make 
me completely well. 

"But there — pay no attention to that last sen- 
tence. No earthly power could make you come to us 
instead of going with your people, so I shall not try to 
influence you — and John, really, I don't know whether 
or not I want you to come or to go. Can you make 
anything out of my confused state of mind? 

"The autumn is glorious here at Belford. I went 
out to Moston yesterday for the first time in weeks. I 



216 JOHN ST. JOHN 

was, of course, reminded of our good old times, and I 
fear I dropt a tear down to the minnows in the creek — 
yes, the initials are still there. I wanted to dig a little 
at them, but I had no knife. I am still a goose, you see. 

"How is your mother? Has the excitement at 
Nauvoo abated? Are you still planning the big west- 
ward journey? Jane fears the Indians will get you if 
you venture. At any rate, if you go to California, you 
will very likely, never come back. The distance is so 
great, besides — and so — 

'*We had strawberry tarts for supper. 

"We had some of your missionary elders preaching 
in Belford last Sunday. Mother and Jane went to hear 
them and brought them back home for supper. They 
were very nice young men; and — I suppose — seeing 
that I could not go to meeting, they brought the meet- 
ing to me. They explained the doctrines of faith, 
repentance, and baptism — all of which I need. 

"Jane is getting along fine in school. 

"A young fellow by the name of — well, we call 
him Nat for short, persists in coming to see me. Next 
time he comes I must tell him — what? 

"I was working in a store in Belford before I be- 
came ill. Mother said the work would be good ex- 
perience for a girl who would likely have to earn her 
own living. I don't know whether I can get my posi- 
tion back now or not. Do you not need someone to 
measure calico at your store?" 

Thus the letter ran to the end. Daylight had about 
departed. The fire in the grate leaped brightly up the 
chimney. He had better screen the light. Luckily, 
the blind was still intact, and he pulled it down. 



JOHN ST. JOHN 217 

He found an old chair and sat down near the fire- 
place and looked into the blaze. Then his thoughts went 
back to former times, and to Dora. Dora was the same 
sweet, light-hearted girl, but he could find no trace of 
any religious awakening in her letter. Could he still 
continue to hope against hope? Between the lines, 
she plainly said she still cared for him. Did that give 
him joy — or was it added pain? Well, perhaps his own 
mind was in as confused a state as Dora said hers was! 

John was hungry and weak from long fastings and 
•.strenuous work. 

And the devil, taking advantage of his condition, 
came and tempted him. 

John St. John was shown the glories of the world: 
wealth, position, the honors of men; ease and comfort 
all his days; Dora, as wife, with children playing about 
his hearth; and Moston, beautiful old Moston, might 
have been his. But why bewail the past? whispered the 
tempter. You are yet a young man. All this is still 
within your reach. Go back to the girl who loves you 
and will make you happy. Get into the world again 
and win back what you have lost by joining this un- 
popular church. Go east where there is beauty and 
culture and civilization. That postponed trip to 
Europe — with Dora — may still be realized. You were 
to climb the Alps together, do you not remember — 
you were to sail the Italian lakes — you were to linger 
in the lands of roses and of sweet song 

Dora persisted in his vision, and he made no 
attempt to banish her. She stood before him, calling 
him by loving look and word. With shining eyes, 



218 JOHN ST. JOHN 

golden hair, rosy lips and cheeks, she tenderly bade him 



come 



Was he drifting away, away from his fast moorings? 
Was he getting lost in the sea of doubt and uncertain- 
ty? He struggled to get control of himself again that 
his thinking might become clear and sane. He knew 
the gospel was true. He said it aloud that he might 
hear his own voice proclaim it. He could not deny 
that 

He that seeketh to save (in this case, wife) he 
forced himself to reason, shall lose. He that loseth 
shall find. Would the words of the Master apply to his 
case? The Priesthood had the power to unite man and 
wife for time and for eternity. Outside this Church, 
this Priesthood, there is no such power. He could go to 
Dora, marry her and make her his wife for this life; 
but to have her for eternity, he would have to prove 
himself true and worthy. As things were now, there- 
fore, he would have to leave her in order to get her: to 
find, he would have to lose; to live, he would have to 
die! 

"If I but knew that some day you'd be mine. 
Seas might divide us, mountains lie between, 
And years, and even life itself go by 
Before my hungering eyes could rest upon 
Your face — Fd be content — content to wait — 
If I but knew that some day you'd be mine!" 

The fire in the grate burned low as John St. John, 
in his wrestling and his praying and his agony, came 
from out his Gethsemane! 

Then he arose, shook himself as if to get rid of the 



JOHN ST. JOHN 219 

last vestige of mind darkness, went to the door and 
looked out into the night; then he lay down peacefully 
by the warm hearth and went to sleep. 

■" John awoke next morning feeling himself again and 
with a deep sense of gratitude for the Lord's protecting 
care. All that day and other days following, he spent 
in Nauvoo and surrounding places trying to dispose 
of his property for something with which he could make 
the westward journey. At last he found a man who, 
after a trip of inspection to Nauvoo, was willing to give 
him a team, a fairly good wagon, and a stock of pro- 
visions for his holdings. The trade was made, and one 
of the first days of October John's outfit was ferried 
across the river. 

John found that a number of relief teams had 
arrived from Winter Quarters to assist the poor to 
remove west. He reported his team to the leader 
of the company, asking that as he had no one depend- 
ant on him, he be allowed to take under his charge the 
sick yoimg man and his grandfather to whom some time 
before he had given his blankets. This was readily 
granted, much to the joy of these two worthy brethren. 

And so in a day or two, the camp was organized and 
ready to move. John was as eager as the rest to be off. 
That first morning when the company moved slowly 
up and away from the river, he was well in advance. 
On an elevation, he stopped his team by which he was 
walking, and turned and stood looking at the strag- 
gling remnant of his people, slowly forming into travel- 
ing order. As he stood there, he bared his head to the 
morning breeze. The sun shone full on his thread-bare 
coat, his coarse trousers, his well-worn boots; but a 



220 JOHN ST. JOHN 

finer picture of a man the artist would fail to find any- 
where else in all the world! 

And John St. John was a man, in every way. 
Thanks to the Lord and His providences, his 
having been born into wealth and affluence had not 
been permitted to stand in the way of his development 
in all the things which make for true character. How 
he did glory in that thought, for it came to him 
as he stood there that morning. His heart was 
full of gratitude as his soul was full of peace. 
He had found himself. For the fu-st time in his life, 
he realized more fully his powers as a child of God, in 
the track, and on the way of his Eternal Father. One 
great epoch of his life lay behind him; and he felt 
that he had strength given him to meet and to take 
advantage of the one which stretched out before him 
into the invisible future. 

Goodby, Nauvoo, goodby, goodby! In the dis- 
tance the morning sun touched the towers and walls 
of the Temple. John's eyes rested lovingly on the 
sight, but only for a moment. The company was 
moving, and he must not linger. Again he turned his 
face and his steps to the West. 



JOHN ST. JOHN 221 



CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN. 
BY WAY OF POSTSCRIPT. 

John St. John's mercantile establishment occupied 
a prominent comer in his home town; his homestead 
stood about two miles out on the county road in the 
north-west comer of his farm which sloped gently 
westward toward the Great Salt Lake. He was both 
merchant and farmer, and as the year had been a 
prosperous one with him, he could well afford to send 
his two sons on the mission to which they had been 
called at the recent conference of the Church. 

Their farewell home party was this evening being 
held in the large, roomy country residence. The parlor 
and the dining room, thrown into one by the open 
folding doors, were now glowing with light and gor- 
geous autumn leaves. Early in the evening, there were 
busy scenes in the kitchen, and although the workers 
tried to keep the odor of cooking from the other parts 
of the house, this was difficult to do. Anyway, the 
smell of roasting meats and baking pies is not offensive 
to hungry boys and girls. 

No effort shall be made in this postscript to give 
the names and the number in John St. John's house- 
hold. Rest assured, there were a lot of fine, healthy, 
growing children. The family line coming down through 
an only son of an only son was now beyond the danger 
of becoming extinct. Of the two missionaries, Joseph, 
the oldest, was twenty, and Hyrum was nineteen. 
They were big, broad-shouldered, clean-faced, clear- 



222 JOHN ST. JOHN 

eyed fellows, full of fun as well as sense, and as a rule, 
willing enough to play with their younger brothers and 
sisters. However, this evening they were unusually 
quiet and sober, for were they not going to leave home 
tomorrow for the first time in their lives — going on 
missions to far-away England to preach the gospel, 
and remain away for two or three years! Sxu'ely, it 
was a sobering prospect. 

Now the dining room table was stretched out to 
its full "Christmas length,'' and for some time the girls 
were busy setting it. Some of the larger children were 
trying to keep the smaller ones to a semblance of dec- 
orous order in the parlor end of the big room. 

In due time, supper was announced, and the family 
took their places about the big table. The father's 
blessing on the food was a little longer than usual, as 
befitting the occasion, and then the clatter of a busy 
table began. 

The meal ended in good time with the leisurely 
eating of the home-made ice cream and cake. 

"Now," said the father from the head of the table, 
"whose turn is it to play?" 

"It is Mary's." 

"All right, Mary. Make the step a lively one, for 
we want the table cleared in good time this evening." 

Mary went to the organ and played a march. The 
smaller children again retreated to the parlor, while 
the older ones, both boys and girls, attacked the dishes 
with such dispatch that they were soon cleared away 
and washed. Then the whole family gathered in the 
room, awaiting further directions. They knew that 



JOHN ST. JOHN 223 

on such an evening as this, the father would have some- 
thing special to say. 

"First we will sing," he announced. "Mary, 
remain at the organ. We need no books, for we all 
know 'Come, come, ye saints.' Before we sing it, I 
want to read again all the verses. Listen carefully, for 
there is deep meaning in every line. When you can see 
the picture of the moving camps of Israel and enter 
somewhat into their feelings, then only can you sing 
the song with the proper spirit." 

They had sung this song many times, and they 
sang it well. The father had explained its meaning 
before, so the children knew why there were tears in 
some of their eyes when they began on the last stanza: 

"And if we die before our journey's through" 

When the song was ended, John St. John arose to 
his feet. The occasion called for this formality, he felt. 
For a moment he looked about on his assembled house- 
hold who sat in silent and respectful expectancy. 
Then with a deep impressive voice and a wave of his 
hand, he said: 

"All this — and the gospel! 

"Let me explain," he continued. "At one time in 
my life I thought that poverty, hardship, and per- 
secution were inseparably connected with the gospel of 
Jesus Christ. My experiences in Missouri and Illinois 
and in the beginning of our settlement of this valley 
seemed to imply this; but now, I see that I was mis- 
taken, for now I not only have the gospel, but peace 
and plenty — and youl 

"My heart is full of gratitude to my Heavenly 
Father for all this. The Lord knows I am thankful, 



224 JOHN ST. JOHN 

and I want you to know it also. I am grateful for the 
wealth of love all of you have brought to me. We 
haven't a black sheep among our large flock. Two of 
you are now ready to go on missions, and from now on 
I want always to have a representative of our family in 
the field. As soon as Joseph and Hyrum return, Henry 
should be ready, and then Heber should be next; and 
then the honor should go on down to the other boys, and 
perhaps to some of the girls. We cannot do less to 
show our gratitude than to pass on the blessings we have 
to others. 

"When you boys arrive in England, and when 
the time is opportune, I want you to go to the ancient 
manor of Mosstone. As you know, your great grand- 
father came from England, a descendant of the people 
who now live at Mosstone Manor. If you can get the 
records of the family, trace your pedigree back as far 
as you can. That will be necessary for temple work. 

"I want you to stop over at Nauvoo — and you 
would better do this on your outward trip. You'll have 
no time for stop-overs on your return, for when you are 
released, you'll make a bee-line for home. If I guess 
right, you'll not be able to hold Joseph, at any rate." 

The father looked knowingly at his eldest son who 
smiled good-naturedly at the personal reference. The 
young man did not deny the possibility of his speedy 
homeward trip, once he was released; rather, he cor- 
roborated the statement by placing his arm about the 
blushing young lady at his side. She was not yet a 
member of the family. Miranda Dana, daughter of 
his old-time friend and neighbor, William Dana, was. 



JOHN ST. JOHN 225 

on Joseph's account, a specially invited guest that 
evening. 

'^Children," continued the father, ''I have told 
you before how the Lord brought a testimony of the 
gospel to the hearts of your grandmother Fenton and 
her children, and how I went back over the Plains to 
Iowa to meet them; how grandmother Fenton died and 
lies buried at Mount Pisgah, and how her two daugh- 
ters came on to the Valley with me. It may be difficult 
for you boys to stop at Pisgah at present, but I want you 
especially to spend a few days at Belford. I shall give 
you letters of introduction to some old-time friends. 
I want you also to go out to Moston and the Fenton 
home. These may be well within the city limits of 
Belford, but in my young days — our young days," he 
corrected as he looked at the two mothers sitting with 
the children~"these places were well out in the 
country." 

The father went on telling incidents of his boy- 
hood days. Then, as the evening advanced and the 
smaller children dropped off to sleep, they sang a song 
and had family prayers. A recess was taken to allow 
the younger children to be put to bed, then a few of the 
older ones, with father and mothers, gathered about 
the dying fire in the grate for the more quiet, closer, 
farewell communion. 

Miranda shared Joseph's intimate company with 
his mother. Hyrum and his mother kept close to each 
other on the other side of the hearth. These two comely, 
well-preserved mothers, one a little older than the other, 
but looking very much alike, with the same blue eyes 
and the hair yet golden, presented the picture of happy 



^ nis 



226 JOHN ST. JOHN 

contentment, even though on the morrow their sons 
were to leave them for a long journey. They were 
going on the Lord's business, and He would protect 
them and bring them safely home. 

The father now talked more intimately to his 
missionary sons, telling them what they might meet 
in the world, and warning them of dangers which might 
beset them. Then, at last when it was time to separate, 
and they were all standing together for the good night's 
greeting, John St. John, looking with loving eyes on 
his boys and their mothers, seemed to bethink himself 
oT'something. 

Boys," he said, "when you get to Moston, if 
there is no great change in the country, you will find 
a bridge spanning the stream which flows through the 
meadow about half way between my old home and the 
Fenton's. The bridge is old now, but it was well made, 
as I remember. I want you to look on the hand-railing 
on the right as you cross from Moston. About the 
center of the railing, you will find some initials cut into 
the wood. I'm sure they are there yet." 

''What are they, father?" asked Joseph. 

" 'J. S. J.' and 'D. F.' I cut them deep, so that 
they would remain a long time." (Did this father with 
whitening hair at his temples redden a little at the ex- 
pression of this bit of sentiment? ) "When you find them, 
just dig them a little deeper." 

"Let me add a correction," said Hyrum's mother. 

"Well?" 

"On the other side of the 'J. S. J.' you will find the 
initials 'J. F.' " 



JOHN ST. JOHN 227 

"I did not put them there," remarked John St. 
John somewhat stupidly. 

"No; but I did," said the younger mother, with a 
twinkle in her eye, "and while your knives are sharp, 
give those also a little more depth, please." 

"Well, — certainly — well — " laughed the father — 
"but do as you are told, boys." 

The young men promised. 

"Now good night all. We must be up early, you 
know." 

Hyrum gave his goodnight kiss as he passed about 
the group. "Goodnight, mother," he said; "goodnight, 
Aunt Dora." 

Joseph followed: "Goodnight, mother; goodnight, 
k Aunt Jane." 

THE END. 




Press of 

Zion's Printing and Publishing Co., 

Independence, Jackson Co., Mo. 




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